Today Commissioner Bélanger released his report on the fatal June 2012 Elliot Lake mall roof collapse.

The Inquiry was divided into two parts. The first part was with respect to the structural integrity of the Algo Centre Mall leading up to the collapse and the second part was on the emergency management and response after the collapse. Both parts have potential significant financial and operational implications for municipal governments. AMO was involved in the separate policy roundtables for each part in the fall of 2013.

Bélanger’s report is over 1400 pages and contains 71 recommendations. It will take some time to fully review and analyze all of the findings and recommendations. However, for your convenience, we have prepared a short list of the key recommendations of interest to the municipal sector for each part.

AMO will be working with the Ontario Building Officials Association and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs as well as other municipal staff to understand the recommendations and their potential municipal implications. We also expect to be working closely with the provincial government during their review and consideration of possible new policy, regulations and legislation arising from the Commissioners’ report.

Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur announced that the Government of Ontario would be immediately acting on three recommendations:

  • 1.16: An advisory panel should be established as soon as possible to determine the appropriate classes of buildings, grouped by risk and the consequences of failure, and to make recommendations no later than 12 months from the release of the report. The government also committed the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to consult with its stakeholders, including municipal partners, on how to move forward with the remaining recommendations that pertain to the Ministry.
  • 1.33: Ministry of Labour inspectors should receive more comprehensive training on issues related to structural soundness, watertightness, and building safety.
  • The government will also review the Incident Management System doctrine that guides first responders when multiple agencies are involved in the response, and outlines how command is structured. Municipalities and others, including the Office of the Fire Marshal, will be a part of this review.
The Province said today that they are initially accepting 18 of the recommendations, many of which fall into matters that are of provincial responsibility and may also have a municipal impact such as improved emergency management communications and coordination. As the Report from the Commission is vast in its scope, the government will undertake a comprehensive review of all the recommendations in consultation with stakeholders including municipalities, industry professional groups and other ministries.

The Commission’s recommendation to make the emergency assistance process more efficient and collaborative is an area that municipal governments would be interested in exploring further. Any resources, information, training, record keeping and communications that would improve responses and facilitate intergovernmental cooperation at emergencies would be welcomed by the municipal sector. AMO appreciates the Commission’s recognition that funding for emergency assistance processes will continue to be a concern to all orders of government. Federal funding also needs to be reinstated since provincial and municipal taxpayers should not shoulder the complete burden of the costs of emergency assistance processes.

AMO members’ updates will be provided when further information is available.

It should be noted that there are continuing criminal and civil legal cases from the 2012 Elliot Lake mall tragedy.

The full Report of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry (Executive Summary, Part One and Part Two) is available under Links to the right.
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