Ontario's Response to the Recommendations of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry
Since receiving the final report of the Elliot Lake Commission of Inquiry on October 15, 2014, Ontario has taken a number of steps to address the recommendations, in addition to its ongoing efforts to help ensure similar events are not repeated.
Enhanced Structural Safety
In response to the Commissioner's recommendation, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has established the Building Safety Technical Advisory Panel, which includes experts from engineering, architecture and municipal organizations. The panel is advising the government on enhancing the safety of existing buildings in Ontario.
In addition, Ontario has made a number of changes to help ensure buildings are safe and secure, including:
- Amending the Building Code Act to include a requirement that architects and/or engineers design large, complex buildings
- Improving the Building Code qualification process so that municipal building officials and other practitioners regulated by the Building Code Act are required to register annually with the ministry
- Enhancing Building Code training for building practitioners, including municipal inspectors, so that it is available at Ontario's community colleges and so that it is accessible online
- Developing guidelines and training materials for Ministry of Labour inspectors on how to conduct an investigation dealing with structural soundness.
Improved Response to Emergencies
Ontario will continue to help municipalities and other partners respond to major incidents and provide assistance in delivering timely and critical emergency information as requested.
Key actions to date include:
- Continuing to train Ontario Provincial Police officers in incident management - using a set of common terms, procedures and ways of responding to incidents to maximize coordination and effectiveness
- Training Ministry of Labour inspectors in major incident policy and procedure and working to ensure that first responders are knowledgeable about the Ministry of Labour inspectors' roles during a crisis or emergency
- Ongoing review of Ontario's Incident Management System and offering more training for first responders and other partners
- Supporting municipalities that request help when dealing with incidents by deploying Emergency Information Liaison Officers ─ trained crisis communicators ─ who are available 24/7 to support staff from the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, or by providing assistance remotely
- Running a large-scale provincial emergency management and heavy urban search and rescue exercise for emergency response providers that replicated the aftermath of an earthquake and included staged building and structural collapses
- Reviewing the province's urban search and rescue program that helps locate and extricate victims in collapsed structure, provides immediate medical treatment to survivors and conducts other life-saving operations.
Improved Inquiry Process
The province has made progress on each of the Commissioner's recommendations about ensuring that public inquiries are carried out effectively and in a timely manner, including:
- Updating the Public Inquiries Guide to include a requirement for a reasonable period of time to set-up an inquiry
- Developing guidelines and communications best practices for public inquires to ensure an independent assessment officer - a person appointed to review the legal accounts of participants who receive public funding - receives timely access to information during a public inquiry.