The Record’s Greg Mercer spent months investigating the toxic legacy of Kitchener’s once-booming rubber industry. He found a troubling pattern of workers who had been exposed to carcinogens and later diagnosed with cancer and other lung diseases, but whose claims for compensation were denied. Mercer used public records to show that 85 per cent of the claims for compensation were denied based on out-dated science, leaving some workers, widows and families of former rubber workers struggling financially. With rubber companies, their unions and many workers now gone, the newspaper became an advocate for these victims and their families. The series prompted Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to launch a formal review of more than 300 rubber workers’ previously rejected claims for occupational disease. Now, thanks to the work of one reporter in a small newsroom, some of those claims are being accepted. The Waterloo Region Record was also awarded a Citation of Merit.