A cross-Canada and international investigative collaboration

Drained was produced as part of Tainted Water, an ongoing investigation into drinking water safety in Canada. The project involves students and faculty from 10 campuses, working with 26 journalists reporting for media outlets across Canada, as well as the US-based Associated Press, a wire agency that distributes stories internationally. The collaboration is coordinated by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University as an initiative intended to explore methods for restoring local investigative journalism in Canadian communities.

Published Work to Date

Canadians exposed to high levels of lead in drinking water, investigation finds. The Guardian, Nov. 4, 2019. 

Lead levels in Canadian water ‘exceed safe limit’ in a third of cases. BBC, Nov. 4, 2019.

Parched: Experts urge transparency on lead-tainted water in some Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw homes. Regina Leader-Post, Nov. 4, 2019

Saskatchewan residents have some of the highest levels of lead-tainted water in Canada. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019.

Canada-wide investigation reveals dangerous levels of lead in tap water. Toronto Star, Nov. 4, 2019.

Is Canada’s tap water safe? Thousands of test results show high lead levels across the country. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

Edmonton residents exposed to high lead levels in water over last decade, investigation finds. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

Calgary doesn’t know how many homes have lead pipes that could make water unsafe. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

Lead levels in Prince Rupert drinking water could point to province-wide problems. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

Thousands of Nova Scotians at risk of lead exposure from wells. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

Quebec says it will pay for daycares to test tap water for lead. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

Is Montreal’s lead problem worse than Flint, Michigan’s? Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

The secrets of Canada’s tap water, explained. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

‘I don’t want citizens to be worried’: Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante insists water is safe to drink. Global News. Nov. 4, 2019

‘There is lead in our water … Don’t doubt it, just start flushing,’ says Prince Rupert resident whose water tested three times the national guideline. Vancouver Star, Nov. 4, 2019.

It would cost just $11 million for Calgary to replace all its public lead service lines. So why hasn’t the city acted? Calgary Star, Nov. 4, 2019.

Edmonton residents have been drinking tap water with lead levels as high as 120 times the federal limit. Edmonton Star, Nov. 4, 2019.

A third of Halifax tests for lead in water exceed the federal guideline. Halifax Star, Nov. 4, 2019.

More than half of Nova Scotians on wells are at risk of having lead in their water. Halifax Star, Nov. 4, 2019.

Her landlord didn’t tell her the home she rented had lead pipes — and he didn’t have to. Toronto Star, Nov. 4, 2019

Removing lead pipes is the only way to eliminate risk. But it’s expensive for cities and homeownersToronto Star, Nov. 4, 2019

Flushing taps before testing for lead produces misleading results. So why is Toronto telling residents to do it?  Toronto Star, Nov. 4, 2019

Investigation: Lead in some Canadian water worse than Flint. Associated Press. Nov. 4, 2019.  

Investigation: Lead in some Canadian water worse than Flint. Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2019

Investigation: Lead in some Canadian water worse than Flint. ABC News, Nov. 4, 2019.

Investigation: Lead in Some Canadian Water Worse Than Flint. US News, Nov. 4, 2019.

Ce plomb que Québec refuse de voir. Le Devoir. 2019-10-16

Les malades invisibles du plomb. Le Devoir. 2019-10-1

Petit guide citoyen contre le plomb. Le Devoir. 2019-10-16

Le Québec sous-évalue le plomb dans l’eau. Le Devoir. 2019-10-16

Quebec to review how it tests drinking water following investigative report. Global News. 2019-10-16

Investigation reveals dangerous lead levels in some Quebec drinking water. Global News. 2019-10-16

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante will require households to replace lead water pipes. Global News. 2019-10-22

Montréal revoit son plan de lutte contre le plomb. Le Devoir. 2019-10-23

Quebec to adopt national standard for testing lead in drinking water. Global News. 2019-10-23

Montréal a longtemps fait fi des solutions contre le plomb. Le Devoir. 2019-10-23

Chaos et opacité dans les municipalités du Québec. Le Devoir. 2019-10-24


Investigative Team

Investigative Reporters:

British Columbia: University of British Columbia

Lauren Donnelly

Jamuna Galay-Tamang

Brenna Owen

V. S. Wells

Nancy Wu


Alberta: MacEwan University

Maya Abdallah

Keshia Bundred

Austin Connelly

Zoe Cronin

Shaela Dansereau

Derrick Ferry

Dylanna Fisher

Clint Hoekstra

Cheyenne Juknies

Raysa Marcondes

Claire Okeke

Sarah Spisak

Molly Stogrin

Kiefer Sutherland

Ishita Verma


Alberta: Mount Royal University

Alannah Page

Stephanie Hagenaars

Karina Zapata


Saskatchewan: University of Regina

Joseph Bernacki

Jacob Carr

Dominique Head

Nathan Meyer

Kaitlynn Nordal

Heather O’Watch

Kayleen Sawatzky

Dan Sherven

Rigel Smith

Ethan Williams

Wenqing Zhan


Saskatchewan: First Nations University of Canada
Taryn Acoose
Jaida Beaudin-Herney

Regan Dreaver-Agecoutay

Charmaine Ermine

Danna Henderson

Darla Ponace

Mercedes Redman

Shayla Sayer-Brabant

Doris Wesaquate


Ontario: Carleton University

Ashleigh Abraham

Stephen Cook

Danielle Edwards

Levi Garber

Matthew Gergyek

Dana Hatherly

Lauren Hicks

Alicia Kalmanovitch

Jennifer Liu

Susana Mas

Christian Paas-Lang

Raisa Patel

Mateo Peralta

Adam van der Zwan


Ontario: Humber College

Kit Kolbegger

Brendan Pietrobon

Michelle Rowe

Ontario: Ryerson University

Lidia Abraha

Charlie Buckley

Kiki Cekota

Ben Cohen

Valerie Dittrich

Chelsey Gould

Benjamin Hargreaves

Declan Keogh

Kenzie MacLaren

Randeep Mandar

Stefanie Marotta

Ryan Moore

Julie Mutis

Julianna Perkins

Victoria Shariati

Kelly Skjerven

Katie Swyers


Quebec: Concordia University

Brigitte Tousignant

Miriam Lafontaine

Michael Bramadat-Willcock

Mia Anhoury

James Betz-Gray

Matthew Coyte

Thomas Delbano

Ian Down

Elaine Genest

Adrian Knowler

Mackenzie Lad

Benjamin Languay

Franca Mignacca

Jon Milton

Lea Sabbah

Katelyn Thomas

Ayrton Wakfer


Nova Scotia: University of King’s College

Lyndsay Armstrong

Megan O’Toole

Investigative Reporting Fellows:

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lauren Donnelly

Ian Down

Dylanna Fisher

Declan Keogh

Mackenzie Lad

Alannah Page


Practicum students and interns:
Kiki Cekota – Ryerson University
Shaela Dansereau — MacEwan University

Cheyenne Juknies — MacEwan University

Raysa Marcondes — MacEwan University

Victoria Shariati — Ryerson University

Morgan Bocknek — Ryerson University

Brigitte Tousignant — Le Devoir

Jaida Beaudin-Herney — First Nations University of Canada

Teaching assistant, University of Regina: Céline Grimard


Partner Journalists:


Associated Press: 

Martha Mendoza


Global News:

Mike De Souza

Carolyn Jarvis

Marney Blunt

Max Hartshorn

Paul Johnson

Elizabeth McSheffrey 

Megan Robinson

Dan Spector

Katelyn Wilson

Julia Wong

Heather Yourex-West


Le Devoir:

Annabelle Caillou

Veronique Chagnon

Ameli Pineda

National Observer:

Emma McIntosh

Stephanie Wood


Regina Leader-Post:

Jennifer Ackerman


Toronto Star:

Robert Cribb

Lynn McAuley

David Bruser


Star Calgary:

Trevor Howell


Star Halifax:

Zane Woodford


Star Edmonton:

Kevin Maimann


Star Vancouver:

Ainslie Cruickshank 

Kelly Bennett, freelance reporter


Faculty Supervisors:

Charles Berret — University of British Columbia

Joe Couture — University of Regina

Robert Cribb — Ryerson University

David Fraser — University of Regina

Trevor Grant — University of Regina

Lara King — Humber College

Steve Lillebuen — MacEwan University

Janice Paskey — Mount Royal University

Patti Sonntag — Concordia University

Pauline Dakin — University of King’s College

Christopher Waddell — Carleton University

David Weisz — Humber College

Patricia Elliott – First Nations University

Faculty Board Members:

Patricia Elliott — University of Regina/First Nations University of Canada

April Lindgren — Ryerson University


Institute for Investigative Journalism, Concordia University

Series Producer: Patti Sonntag

Research Coordinator: Michael Wrobel

Project Coordinator: Colleen Kimmett

Editorial assistant: Fabio Luis Leon-Rosa

Editorial assistant: Lea Sabbah

Data support: Jeremy Glass-Pilon


Institutional Credits:

Carleton University, School of Journalism and Communication

Concordia University, Department of Journalism

Humber College, Journalism Program

MacEwan University

Mount Royal University, Journalism and Broadcast Media Programs

Ryerson University, School of Journalism

University of British Columbia, Graduate School of Journalism

University of King’s College, School of Journalism

University of Regina, School of Journalism

Associated Press

Global News

Le Devoir

National Observer

Regina Leader-Post

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Star Calgary

Star Edmonton

Star Halifax

Star Vancouver

Toronto Star

Produced by the Institute for Investigative Journalism, Concordia University