Architect sworn to secrecy over collapsed mall information

At the public inquiry into the fatal mall collapse in Elliot Lake last year, more evidence has been given about confidentiality agreements that kept information about the mall's condition out of the public's hands.

Agreement signed with Retirement Living kept architect from sharing information with the city of Elliot Lake

At the public inquiry into the fatal mall collapse in Elliot Lake last year, more evidence has been given about confidentiality agreements that kept information about the mall's condition out of the public's hands.

Previous evidence has shown a non-disclosure agreement was signed between the mall owners to keep inspection reports private.

On Wednesday, the commission heard about a second confidentiality agreement with a group of architects.

An architect working with Nichols Yallowega Belanger said he signed a confidentiality agreement with Retirement Living, when they hired the firm in 1998 to inspect the mall.

Michael Luciw, an architect working with Nichols Yallowega Belanger, said he signed a confidentiality agreement with Retirement Living, when they hired the firm in 1998 to inspect the mall. (Elliot Lake Inquiry)

Michael Luciw told the commission that non-disclosure agreements between companies and architects aren’t common, but can happen. He noted it is more likely to happen with government agencies.

During his testimony, he referenced the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation as an example.

"They ask us to sign them because they are at a very highly confidential level in terms of the planning," he said.

A second example he used was when court houses are designed.

"They ask us not to release any of that information so that the floor plans become public knowledge."

Luciw told the commission the agreement he had with Retirement Living kept him from sharing with the city of Elliot Lake any information he obtained during his inspection.

Prior to Luciw's inspection, Retirement Living also signed a non-disclosure agreement with the mall's original owner, Algoma Central.

A representative with Retirement Living is expected to start its testimony at the inquiry on Thursday.

Schedule of testimony:

Witness NameDates (subject to change)
Michael Buckley, Engineer, HalsallApril 8, 2013
Jeff Truman, Engineer, HalsallApril 9, 2013
Michael A. Luciw, Architect, Yallowega BélangerApril 10, 2013
Richard Quinn, Former Property Manager, Retirement LivingApril 11, 2013
Blaine Nicholls, Architect, formerly with Nicholls Yallowega BélangerApril 16, 2013
Richard Kennealy, General Manager, Retirement LivingApril 17 and 18, 2013
Rhona Guertin, Comptroller, Retirement LivingApril 19 and 22, 2013
Paul Officer, Fire Chief and Former Building Inspector and Chief Building Official, City of Elliot LakeApril 23, 2013
Brian McDonald, Project Manager, Construction ControlApril 24, 2013
Troy Speck, Former Chief Administrative Officer, City of Elliot LakeApril 24 (and 25 if necessary), 2013
Chris Clouthier, Building Inspector, City of Elliot LakeApril 25, 2013
Syl Allard, Former Chief Building Official, City of Elliot LakeApril 29, 2013
Tom Derreck, Former Chief Administrative Officer, City of Elliot LakeApril 30, 2013
George Farkouh, Former Mayor, City of Elliot LakeMay 1 (and 2 if necessary), 2013