Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ex-engineer goes to trial over Elliot Lake mall roof collapse

September 14, 2016  CCE

Vehicles being moved from the collapsed Algo Mall roof, Elliot Lake, in July 2016. Image:

Vehicles being moved from the collapsed Algo Mall roof, Elliot Lake, in July 2016. Image:

The trial of the former engineer who last inspected the Algo Mall structure in Elliot Lake, Northern Ontario, has begun.

Robert Wood is being tried in the Ontario Superior Court in Sault Ste. Marie on two counts of criminal negligence causing death, and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The crown has pinned its case on Wood, who carried out a structural examination of the mall a few months before the parking lot roof fell in on August 23, 2012, crushing two people to death and injuring 19 others. Wood has pleaded not-guilty.

Professional Engineers Ontario is concerned that media reports are incorrectly referring to Wood as an engineer. The association issued a statement emphasizing that Wood should be referred to as as a “former engineer.” Wood lost his professional engineering licence in November 2012 over a matter not related to the mall’s collapse.

However, Wood was an owner of an engineering company known as M.R. Wright and was working on its behalf when he inspected the mall.


The collapse of the structure resulted in a public inquiry that had deep implications for the engineering profession. It has prompted Professional Engineers Ontario to start reviewing several policies, including whether to implement mandatory continuing education.

In its release PEO advises anyone who wants to check whether an individual is licensed or holds the Certificate of Authorization necessary to offer services to the public, they should check the PEO’s website, or report infringements on PEO’s enforcement hotline.

To read a CBC report on the current trial, click here.

To read extracts from the Inquiry into the Elliot Lake Mall collapse, see the December 2014 print edition of Canadian Consulting Engineer, page 23, click here.

or here

To read an editorial Comment on the Elliot Lake Mall collapse Inquiry report, click here.

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1 Comment » for Ex-engineer goes to trial over Elliot Lake mall roof collapse
  1. Richard Laurin Jr says:

    i grew up there those slabs were an issue since 1980 when they cut the roof out to lower the escalators back in.. just to be clear he did a structural inspection to provide owner with information he was not doing a structural inspection for the city those are two very different things you see an engineer is responsible legally if he was the designer of a building. In this situation he was not the designing engineer, This is where the law become clear on duties and responsibilities, So ill be to the point as an engineer hired to complete a structural inspection on behalf or a building owner. THUS OWNER/ POTENTIAL OWNER responsibility become the owner the inspector enginer Does not have authority to shut down a building, or job unless he is the designer, there for he was not he has no authority legally to do anything other than a moral obligation to tell the owner or municipality theirs a issue of safety, he for filled that obligation when he told the owner they need a 1.5 million dollar roof repair, he also told the municipality, there for the only authority to act was on the shoulders of the only ones who could the owner and the city of Elliot lake, Officials with by the way has received over 1000 complaints about the roof since 1981. The Courts and inquiry are trying to put all on to Mr Wood avoiding the 30 other people whom are legally responsible. The structural inspection was by hire via the owner witch make that inspection an information inspection its it up to the City or town to do structural when there are safety concerns despite 1000 plus complaints over 30 years. The CBO is the only person who can condemn or shut down a building Mr, Wood as an engineer does not carry that authority to do so. unfortunate to avoid the guilty they will try to crucify one man,, remember our Canadian charter of rights innocent until proven guilty in this case 30 other should be jailed.

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