Lawyers at the ongoing Elliot Lake public inquiry want an investigation into what role the Ontario Ministry of Labour played prior to the collapse of the Algo Centre mall.

The inquiry heard on Wednesday the ministry investigated the mall just five months before its roof collapsed, but did not issue any orders or violations. The ministry inspected the mall more than 30 times from 1995, following up on complaints including a leaky roof.

Assistant deputy minister Sophie Dennis told the commission the ministry is conducting its own investigation into the disaster but will not be looking at any of its own inspectors.

"What [the inspector] saw he addressed, and the moment he left — if something changed — the officer is not accountable," said Dennis.

But some want an investigation of the ministry before it is cleared of wrong-doing.

"There may be a strong appearance of conflict of interest with respect to a lack of investigation of the Ministry of Labour's conduct," said lawyer Robert MacRae, who is representing engineer Robert Wood. Wood was charged last week in connection to the collapse. 

MacRae said a third party should investigate the ministry.

From a report by CBC's Amy Dodge