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Two CBC documentaries  Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Toxic Beauty — and the network’s flagship national newscast each took home multiple Canadian Screen Awards on the first night of their 2021 presentations on Monday.

The week-long event, organized every year by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, recognizes excellence in Canadian film, television and digital media.

The awards are being presented virtually for a second year in a row, due to the pandemic, on the academy’s website and social media pages.

The National won two awards: best live news special, for its May 31, 2020 edition, and best national reporter for health reporter Christine Birak. 

Birak has been one of the network’s lead journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year and a half. 

WATCH | A recent example of Birak’s reporting: 

With a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines and nearly 40 per cent of Canadians having received at least one shot, there are more questions about when second doses will roll out and whether Canada’s strategy is supported by science. 2:02

Enslaved, in which actor Samuel L. Jackson and a team of investigative journalists uncover the hidden history of the slave trade through underwater archeology, took home three awards, including best history documentary program or series, best photography and the Barbara Sears Award for best editorial research. 

Toxic Beauty, which exposes unregulated chemicals and toxins in the beauty and cosmetics industry, was honoured for best writing and best direction for a documentary.

A scene from Enslaved, which features Samuel L. Jackson and a team of journalists and divers as they uncover the history and horror of the transatlantic slave trade. The documentary won three CSAs on Monday. (CBC/Fremantle Media)

And a special to mark the end of a beloved CBC comedy, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell, won best biography or arts documentary program or series.

WATCH | Schitt’s Creek celebrated for inclusivity:

Alix Markman is a screenwriter, Schitt’s Creek fan and member of the LGBTQ community. She joins CBC News Network’s Carole MacNeil to discuss the show’s treatment of sexuality and identity. 7:55

CBC won a total of 22 awards in the news and documentary category on Monday. Other CBC News winners included:

  • Best news anchor, local: Dwight Drummond, CBC Toronto News at 6
  • Best local reporter: Angela Sterritt, CBC Vancouver News at 6
  • Best host or interviewer, news or information: Asha Tomlinson, Marketplace 
  • Best news or information series: The Fifth Estate
  • Donald Brittain Award for best social/political documentary program: 9/11 Kids
  • Best writing, factual: Still Standing – Rankin Inlet (NU)
  • Best picture editing, factual: Every Child Matters
  • Best picture editing, documentary: She Walks with Apes
  • Best original music, non-fiction: A Bee’s Diary
  • Best direction, documentary series: Being Black in Toronto
  • Rob Stewart Award for best science or nature documentary program or series: Takaya: Lone Wolf 
  • Best factual series: You Can’t Ask That 
  • Best documentary program: Hockey Mom

WATCH | The trailer for Toxic Beauty:

Links to hormonal disruption in baby boys, developmental delays, low sperm count in men, infertility, cancer, diabetes, obesity and skin disease — the cosmetic industry isn’t pretty. 1:53

CBC’s Power & Politics also received an award Monday in the lifestyle and reality segment, for best talk program or series. 

Some other notable wins of the night were:

  • Best national newscast: CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme 
  • Best news anchor, national: Lisa LaFlamme
  • Best news or information segment: APTN Investigates – Writing Home
  • Best news or information program: W5: The Invisible Man
  • Best photography, news or information: W5: The Survivors
  • Gordon Sinclair Award for broadcast journalism: Anton Koschany
  • Best local newscast: CityNews at 6