Ottawa

Coroner's inquest into Olivier Bruneau's death rescheduled for October

Olivier Bruneau was working at the bottom of a deep pit at a condo site in March 2016 when he was crushed by falling ice. The inquest into his death is now set to begin Oct. 11 after it was postponed earlier this year.

Bruneau, 24, was killed by falling ice at Little Italy construction site in 2016

Olivier Bruneau was killed March 23, 2016 while he was working at the bottom of a deep pit. He was struck by falling ice. An inquest into his death is now set to begin in October. (Facebook)

A long-awaited coroner's inquest into the death of Olivier Bruneau, who was crushed by a chunk of falling ice in an Ottawa construction site six years ago, is now set to begin Oct. 11.

The inquest had been scheduled for July and was expected to last five days, but was postponed.

It's now expected to last nine days and hear from about 16 witnesses.

On March 23, 2016, Bruneau was working at the bottom of a nine-storey deep construction pit when a slab of ice detached from one of the excavation walls and crushed him to death. The Gatineau, Que., surveyor was 24 years old.

In a news release Thursday, the coroner's office said the inquest will be conducted via video conference.

According to information obtained earlier by CBC/Radio-Canada, the coroner's inquest will focus on four points:

  1. Safety protocols for the work site, particularly ice removal and mitigation of dangers posed by falling ice.
  2. Protocols for site inspection, including any followup site inspection, once safety concerns had been raised.
  3. The criteria for reopening the site after being closed for safety reasons.
  4. The creation of exclusion zones.

The last two points refer to an incident that happened at the same construction site in February 2016, when another worker was hit by a piece of ice but escaped without serious injury.

Christian Bruneau, Olivier Bruneau's dad, stands on the shores of Ottawa's Dows Lake in January 2022. The Claridge Icon tower in the background is where his son was killed in 2016. (Radio-Canada)

In a January interview with Radio-Canada, Bruneau's father said the four points reflect his family's own questions.

Christian Bruneau also noted it has taken too long for the inquest to begin.

"I don't think it's fair to hold a family hostage like this for six years waiting for answers," he said.

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