Submission title

Ontario Greenbelt Scandal


Web, Print






Emma McIntosh, Noor Javed, Charlie Pinkerton, Sheila Wang, Brendan Kennedy, Robert Benzie, Jesse McLean, David Bruser, Denise Balkissoon


When Ontario’s auditor general presented her report on the Ford government’s Greenbelt scandal, she cited two newsrooms for providing her with significant new and revelatory details. Throughout 2023, the Narwhal and the Toronto Star revealed how politically connected developers benefited from buying devalued farmland just before Premier Doug Ford lifted Greenbelt protection of those lands. The Narwhal and the Star seized the public’s attention with a steady drumbeat of exclusives: how well-connected developers were invitees to the premier’s daughter’s wedding; ethics violations; the unmasking of a mysterious “Mr. X” who connected developers with government bureaucrats. The reporters persevered despite near-constant criticism of their work by the government. Their investigation culminated in Ford scrapping the plan to allow development on formerly protected Greenbelt lands and cost the government two ministers and two senior staffers. The RCMP launched an investigation. The reporting by The Narwhal and the Star, the auditor general has said, “greatly contributed to public awareness, and ultimately to the provincial government reversing its unsupportable decision to remove specific lands from the Greenbelt.”