Ten years after a former OC Transpo worker shot four of his colleagues and then turned a gun on himself, there are still questions about the work environment at Ottawa's transit authority.
An inquest into the 1999 shooting revealed an atmosphere of bullying at OC Transpo and that management hadn't been taking workplace complaints seriously.
Pierre Lebrun, 40, had quit his job at OC Transpo a few months before the incident. On the afternoon of April 6, 1999, he walked into the OC Transpo garage on St. Laurent Boulevard and killed four of his former colleagues. Another two were wounded before Lebrun shot himself.
At the time of the shooting, said Jim Smith, who has been an OC Transpo driver for close to 30 years, the relationship between management and employees was strained.
"For years, we'd been complaining about the working conditions," said Smith.
But the tragedy, he said, forced both sides to address the rift.
"It's a lesson that was meant to be learned," said Smith. "And we still can."
The inquest into the tragedy resulted in 77 recommendations — many of which were aimed at improving the workplace environment at OC Transpo.
After Ottawa's 53-day transit strike, however, Smith said the lessons learned in 1999 should be revisited.
"We should have learned from that … how best can we communicate? How best can we rebuild and make things better?" said Smith.
Following the transit strike, he said, OC Transpo's employees and managers have more work to do again.
"We're going to have to find some way to rebuild that trust," said Smith. "Things haven't really changed all that much."
In order to make those changes post-strike, both sides need to put in some time and effort, he said.
"We have to do it again, whether we like it or not," said Smith. "It's going to take everybody collectively to do this."