Weather blamed for Ottawa stage collapse

The Ministry of Labour says its investigation into last year's stage collapse at Bluesfest is complete and it found there are no grounds to lay charges.

No structural problems with stage at 2011 Bluesfest, says Ministry of Labour spokesman

The Ministry of Labour says its investigation into last year's stage collapse at Bluesfest is complete and it found there are no grounds to lay charges.

A powerful storm toppled Bluesfest's main stage last year, injuring three people. (Adam Dietrich/Canadian Press)

Inclement weather was blamed for the accident, which happened July 17, 2011, after a powerful storm blew in, according to Matt Blajer, a spokesman from the ministry.

In an email, he said investigators found that there were no structural issues with the stage and say the collapse was due to a "severe weather event".

"[The] evidence does not meet the legal threshold for charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and therefore there will be no charges," Blajer wrote.

Stage provider thankful for the findings

Stéphane Berger, owner of the Quebec firm that built the stage that collapsed, said he hadn't read the final report yet. But he told CBC News he's glad to have an answer.

"This has saved us from the worst," Berger said. "This news from yesterday confirmed our credibility and it's really good to have that for us.

"I would say yes, I'm happy, but we will always remember what happened and we are putting additional measures to avoid a situation like that in the future."

Berger said his company would like to work with Bluesfest again in the future.

Bluesfest hired a new stage company from Nashville this year, as well as a structural engineer to independently assess its stages and a weather service out of Halifax to supply specific weather reports daily.


  • An earlier version of this story indicated the information was obtained from an Ontario Ministry of Labour report. The information was obtained from a ministry spokesman.
    Jul 09, 2012 9:50 AM ET