Today, John Gerretsen, Attorney General, issued the following statement regarding the public inquiry into the events at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake:
“The McGuinty government is committed to keeping the public informed as decisions related to the independent public inquiry are made. This is our commitment to the people of Elliot Lake and to all Ontarians.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the Honourable Justice Paul R. Bélanger has agreed to lead the independent public inquiry into the tragic events at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake.
Justice Bélanger has had a long and distinguished judicial career which makes him well suited to lead this inquiry. First appointed to the bench in 1978, he served as a Senior Judge for Eastern Ontario from 1984 until 1990, and then as a Regional Senior Justice for the Ontario Court of Justice from 1996 to 2002. In 2002, he was appointed chair of the Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and now sits as a per diem judge and as the Court’s representative on the Attorney General’s French Language Services Committee.
In leading the inquiry Justice Bélanger will be asked to look into and report on events surrounding the collapse of the Algo Centre Mall, review the emergency management and response. He will report back publicly within a year of beginning the inquiry.
The next step in the process is to establish the public inquiry through an Order in Council. The Order sets out the scope of the inquiry. The government is actively engaged in finalizing the terms of reference and, once approved, will make them available to the public.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Justice Bélanger for agreeing to lead the public inquiry. I am confident that under his leadership we will get the answers we need for the families of Elliot Lake and other Ontarians, as well as learn how to prevent similar tragedies from happening, and respond in the best way possible if they do.”