About The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate brings you Canada's top investigative stories. From across the country and around the world, Fifth Estate journalists dig deeper to get you the stories that matter.
The Fifth Estate is Canada's premier investigative show. (CBC)

The Fifth Estate brings you Canada's top investigative stories. From across the country and around the world, Fifth Estate journalists dig deeper to get you the stories that matter.

The Fifth Estate is Canada's premier investigative documentary program. Hosts Bob McKeown, Gillian Findlay and Mark Kelley continue the show's tradition of provocative and fearless journalism, which began in 1975.

The team exposes wrongdoing in all corners of Canada and holds those responsible to account. The stories deliver a dazzling parade of political leaders, controversial characters and ordinary people whose lives were touched by triumph or tragedy.

Where to watch The Fifth Estate

CBC Television

Thursdays at 9:00 p.m., 9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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CBC News: The Fifth Estate
P.O. Box 500
Toronto, Ont.
M5W 1E6

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Meet the hosts 

Co-host Bob McKeown is pictured in 2012 by the wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia. (Joe Passaretti/CBC)

Bob McKeown has had a career unequalled in broadcast journalism. The longest-serving Fifth Estate host, he's now heading into his 29th season with the show. In more than four decades at three major networks in Canada and the U.S., he's reported from 70 countries and 12 war zones and been recognized with dozens of major journalism awards.

McKeown made his CBC debut at 20, as a recent graduate of Yale University. He had returned to his hometown of Ottawa to play with the Canadian Football League's Rough Riders when the local CBC Radio afternoon show invited him to do sports commentary three times a week at union scale, $35 a piece.

He spent five years freelancing for the CBC and playing in the CFL. An all-star and Grey Cup champion, McKeown eventually retired from football and took a full-time CBC job, doing morning radio and late-night TV news in Ottawa, then Montreal. 

In 1981, at age 30, he was chosen to join Adrienne Clarkson and Eric Malling as a host/reporter of the CBC's flagship investigative broadcast The Fifth Estate. For the next decade, McKeown travelled the world, covering revolutions in Eastern Europe, civil wars in Africa and Latin America, the rise of China and the fall of the Soviet Union. 

In 1990, he made another adventurous career move, accepting a job as a CBS News correspondent based in New York. Within months, he made international news from the front lines of the Persian Gulf War, beating Allied forces into Kuwait as Iraqi occupiers fled. People magazine wrote, "McKeown and his CBS crew survived land mines, artillery and Iraqi snipers to get the best story of the war."

After five years at CBS, he moved to Dateline NBC, where he reported extensively on 9/11, tracked down war criminals, covered hurricanes and tornadoes, broadcast live from the wreck site of the Titanic and was bitten by a shark — on camera. 

McKeown returned to Canada in 2003 and rejoined The Fifth Estate, where his stories have continued to resonate with Canadians. Those range from his groundbreaking coverage with producer Tim Sawa of dozens of rape accusations against Winnipeg businessman Peter Nygard to the investigation of why there are no seatbelts in Canadian school buses, which won the 2019 Hillman Foundation award for public service journalism in Canada.

Looking back, McKeown has no doubt which of all his days at The Fifth Estate has been the best. He says it was the very first one in August 1981 — the day he interviewed for The Fifth Estate job and also the day he first met Sheilagh D'Arcy McGee, then one of the show's researchers. They've now been married for almost 40 years and have four sons: Liam, D'Arcy, Alex and Rob.

Co-host Gillian Findlay talks with a Fifth producer in 2008 in Afghanistan. (Joe Passaretti/CBC)

Gillian Findlay hosts and reports for The Fifth Estate.

Babies have played a surprisingly significant role in Findlay's career at The Fifth Estate. She first joined the show in 1991, when longtime host Hana Gartner went on maternity leave. 

The opportunity to delve into the wrongful conviction of David Milgaard, a story that helped pave the way for his eventual exoneration, whetted Findlay's appetite for investigative journalism.

But first, she had to satiate her other big ambition: to work as a foreign correspondent.

For 11 years — first with CBC and later with ABC News — Findlay travelled the globe from postings in London, Moscow and Jerusalem, covering wars, famines, insurrections and political upheaval. She paid special attention to the impact of big historical events on the everyday lives of those destined — or doomed — to live through them. And she had babies.

It was the birth of her third child that brought her back to Canada and to investigative reporting, first at CBC Disclosure and in 2004 to The Fifth Estate. Since then, Findlay has hosted episodes from Haiti, Russia, Afghanistan and South Korea. She has documented the war crimes of Syria's Bashar al-Assad and the corruption of Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Domestically, she has led investigations into many of this country's most pressing problems: sexism and racism within police forces, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, domestic violence, tax evasion, lottery scams and the historic injustices perpetrated against Indigenous peoples.

In 2017, she and her team spent 10 months documenting the impact of youth suicide in Cross Lake, Man. In 2014, she turned Fifth Estate cameras on the CBC, examining its handling of sexual assault charges against former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi. Last season, she and her team spent months painstakingly reconstructing the RCMP's response to the mass shooting in Nova Scotia.

Findlay is a five-time Gemini/Canadian Screen award winner, including three times for best host/interviewer. Her work has been recognized by the Canadian Association of Journalists, RTNDA, the New York Film Festival, Amnesty International, the Alliance for Women in Media and the Michener Foundation.

While at ABC, Findlay was nominated for an Emmy award and was part of the ABC team that won a special Emmy in 2001 for the network's coverage of 9/11. In 2013, she was named Distinguished Alumni by Vancouver's British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

When not in the field, Findlay can sometimes be heard guest-hosting on CBC Radio. She also has collaborated on two documentaries with the PBS program Frontline.

Today, her babies are grown, but she and her husband remain in Toronto, eagerly anticipating the end of the pandemic and one day — who knows? — the possibility of grandbabies.

Fifth Estate co-host Mark Kelley is pictured. (Eric Foss/CBC)

Mark Kelley, a co-host of The Fifth Estate, loves a good story.

His passion for giving a voice to compelling and controversial stories has taken him to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where his investigation into deadly garment factories where workers made clothes for Canadians was honoured with an International Emmy award. Kelley was part of an investigation into the questionable evidence used to convict a Quebec judge of murder that led to his release from prison. Kelley was also part of a team that won the Canadian Association of Journalists' Human Rights Reporting award for an investigation into the labour conditions of migrant farm workers in Ontario.

His journalistic journey began more than three decades ago as a reporter for CBC Radio in Quebec City. Later, he became a TV reporter for The National in Montreal and host of CBC News Morning, where he was live on the air during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was a host of CBC News: Disclosure, where he was part of an investigation that led to a review of body-checking rules in Canadian amateur hockey. He hosted Connect with Mark Kelley and joined The Fifth Estate in 2012.

He lives in Toronto with his wife and four sons.