Canadian Consulting Engineer

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

September 14, 2016

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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