Engineer charged in fatal mall collapse to testify at inquiry
Ontario Ministry of Labour says engineer charged under Occupational Health and Safety Act
An engineer facing charges in relation to a deadly mall collapse that occurred in Elliot Lake, Ont., last year will still testify at a public inquiry looking into the mall's failure.
Ontario's Ministry of Labour reported Monday that engineer Robert Wood had been charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and is accused of endangering a worker by providing negligent advice.
Wood last inspected the Algo Centre Mall in April of last year. In his report following that inspection, Wood said the mall was structurally sound.
Not long after his report was released, Elliot Lake's Algo Centre Mall suffered a partial collapse on June 23, 2012. Two women, Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, were killed.
If Wood is convicted, he could face a fine of up to $25,000 and spend up to a year in jail.
Provincial charges separate from inquiry
Wood's lawyer, Robert MacRae, addressed the charges Tuesday in Elliot Lake. He clarified the provincial charges are separate from the inquiry process.
"This hasn't been a process trying to determine who's at fault, but rather to determine what has occurred," he said of the public inquiry.
As for the Ministry of Labour charges against Wood, MacRae remarked, "there's a presumption of innocence."
MacRae also represents Wood at the public inquiry underway in Elliot Lake, where Wood is scheduled to testify in June.
The ongoing inquiry is probing the events surrounding the collapse, the deaths of the the two women and the way authorities responded to the emergency.
Wood is expected to appear in court on the Ministry of Labour charges on May 15.
The charges were filed in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., a ministry spokesperson told CBC News.
With files from The Canadian Press