Statement re: former engineer Robert Wood and the Algo Centre Mall case

On June 1, 2017, former engineer Robert Wood was acquitted of three charges of criminal negligence in connection to the 2012 Algo Centre Mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ontario.

Below is a statement from OSPE following the release of the results of the case.

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is the advocacy body for the engineering profession in Ontario. We are responsible for enhancing the reputation of engineers and ensuring they are consulted by government regarding public policy issues like infrastructure, energy, innovation, economic development and climate change planning, to name a few.

While the case involving former engineer Robert Wood and the Algo Centre Mall collapse in Elliot Lake exclusively involves the regulation and enforcement of the responsibilities of an engineer under the Professional Engineers Act, which is the sole mandate of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO), public perception surrounding the results of the case has an impact on the reputation of all engineers in the province.

Therefore, as professional engineers tasked with representing our profession in Ontario, the OSPE Board of Directors would like to make our position on this issue clear.

  • We support the steps PEO is taking to reaffirm its role as regulator, working towards fulfilling Commissioner Bélanger’s recommendations outlined in the 2014 Elliot Lake Inquiry.
  • We encourage action on ongoing continued improvements that will help reinstate the public’s confidence in the profession, including the implementation of mandatory continuous professional development for all practising engineers in Ontario, and certification for structural engineers. 
  • OSPE believes that additional resources should be allocated for enforcement of the Act to support proactive follow up by the regulator and ensure that those with suspended licences cannot continue to conduct work under the pretense that they are a qualified engineer.  
  • Robert Wood was not a member of OSPE and his professional licence had been suspended by PEO.

Engineering is evident in all of the products that we use every day.  Ontario provides some of the very best engineering talent and our graduates are sought after by world-class companies.  Given the breadth of engineering disciplines and new fields of study, OSPE wholly supports the allocation of additional resources to support enforcement and mandatory professional development across all of these disciplines.  

Share your views with OSPE

What are your thoughts on this case and final verdict? How can Ontario prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future? What steps need to be taken to protect the reputation of the engineering profession in this province?

  1. June 8, 2017
  2. June 8, 2017
  3. June 15, 2017
  4. August 18, 2017

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