How do I know you aren’t biased yourselves?
We are committed to bias-free work. We take various steps to ensure impartiality in our reporting:
- Being upfront about our coverage. A graph on our home page displays the proportion of fact checks on each party and leader.
- Having no agenda beyond getting the facts. We will never say who to vote for, whether we support a piece of legislation, or what we think anyone ‘ought’ to do.
- Being transparent and open about how we reach our conclusions. We include sources and links where possible. Any assumptions we make are explicit.
- Being transparent about how we score.
- Correcting our mistakes quickly and transparently. If we’ve made a mistake, been unfair, or in some way shown bias, we want to know about it, and correct it. We note our corrections where they occur.
Who holds you accountable?
FactsCan is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. This is one accountability mechanism. By signing, FactsCan agrees to annually produce a public report indicating how we have lived up to each of the five principles.
Who can identify statements to check?
Anyone, anywhere. Please get in touch to send us your suggestion.
Where can statements appear?
Almost anywhere, as long as there is a print, image, audio, or video record. They can be from statements in the House of Commons, news media, speeches, flyers, ads, social media posts, press releases, etc.
Whose statements do you check?
Anyone or any organization influencing or involved in federal politics: members of Parliament (MPs); spokespeople for MPs and parties; pundits; party material; senators and their spokespeople; senior political appointees like deputy ministers; heads of agencies, boards and commissions; ambassadors and diplomats; members of the media; editorial boards; and others.
While our focus is on federal politics, we also check statements by those from other levels of government if a statement is related to or can influence federal politics.
What type of statements do you check and how do you choose to check them?
Not all statements are equally worthy of checking. We use the following checklist as guidelines (adapted with permission from the American Press Institute):
- Can the statement be proven or supported by facts? Or is the statement an unverifiable prediction or opinion? As a general rule, we check facts, not opinions. Checking opinion can be difficult to write and less helpful to readers, though we don’t rule out these statements if they meet other criteria.
- Is it significant, interesting and new to the Canadian public?
- Is it a statement that will be or is being repeated?
- Is it a statement that people will hear and wonder “Is that true”?
- Is it about an issue causing buzz in our own community?
- Is it about an issue that has gone viral on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.)?
- Is it about an issue our readers are reading or commenting on?
- Is it from an ad that is among the biggest ad buys in dollars or frequency?
- Is it from a viable candidate (based on polls, visibility, etc.)? In other words, fact checking a non-contender may not be efficient.
- Is it about an issue the opposition is arguing or talking about?
- Does it contain numbers and statistics about one particular topic? Statistics can be manipulated to support a message, and checking those numbers is a valuable service to our readers.
- Is it from or about a person, party, issue or region that is underrepresented in our coverage?
What questions does a fact check seek to answer?
- Is the statement factually correct?
- Are there at least two credible sources that verify or refute the statement?
- Does the statement provide important context?
- Is the statement free of misleading “code words”?
- Is the statement free of complexity that could obfuscate facts?
- Is the statement free of deception?
How do you ensure balanced coverage of people and parties?
We set targets for party coverage that roughly aligns with percentage of popular vote. We use targets, not quotas, because public interest and news values (of significant, interesting, and new) may shift our coverage.
What target do you use if an election is called?
We use the numbers from the last session of Parliament.
How do you score statements?
We use a standard list of five scores: True, Misleading, False, Farcical and Withholding judgement. Read the scoring definitions.
What if I spot a mistake in your articles?
Please contact us. Please be as specific as possible, and include links to all sources you cite.
What is your corrections policy?
If we make a mistake, we want to know about it and set the record straight. If something comes to our attention that should be addressed in the fact check, including factual corrections or additional context, we’ll add that in. If a mistake changes the verdict, we’ll change the verdict. Whatever the correction, our process is the following: 1) After a thorough assessment, correct as needed, 2) Publish an editor’s note at the top of the article explaining the correction, 3) Post the correction on social media, 4) Send the correction to any relevant stakeholders with an apology as needed.
If you spot an error, please contact us. Please explain what we got wrong and include links to all sources.
Where does your funding come from?
For now, we’re 100 per cent powered by donations. Our initial round of funding came from an Indiegogo campaign that ran through February 2015, and ongoing funding is provided by donations from readers.
Do you track your party and leader coverage?
Fact Checks by Party
Fact Checks by Leader