Hamilton City Council has set aside $7 Million to fund the upcoming judicial inquiry into the Red Hill paving issue, and there will be more money available if needed. The terms of reference focus on three main areas of inquiry; one, the 2014 friction report that didn’t surface until last year; two, when the report did surface, who knew about it and why was it withheld until after last year’s election; and three, why did the Province conduct its own friction testing in 2007, what was the result of those tests and did anybody at the city see the results? The city has engaged the Toronto law firm of Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP as its representative throughout the inquiry.
The terms of reference are sweeping and ask the justice to address the following questions:
• Identify all individuals who received a copy of the 2014 friction report or knew about it
• (ii) Based on the City’s by-laws, policies and procedures, as they were in 2014, should Council have been made aware of the Report, (iii) Why was the information in the Report, or the information and recommendations contained therein, not provided to Council or the public once the Report was submitted to the Department of Engineering Services in 2014?
• Who, if anyone, was responsible for the failure to disclose a copy of the Report, in 2014?
• Was there any negligence, malfeasance or misconduct in failing to provide the Report, or the information and recommendations to Council or the public?
• How was the Report discovered in 2018?
• Identify all individuals who received a copy of the Report or were advised of the in 2018;
• Were appropriate steps taken to disclose the Report, once it was discovered in 2018?
• Was there any negligence, malfeasance or misconduct in failing to disclose the Report, once the Report was discovered in 2018?
• Were users of the RHVP put at risk as a result of the failure to disclose the Report’s findings?
• Did the Report contain findings or information that would have triggered Council to make safety changes to the roads or order further studies?
• Did the failure to disclose the Report contribute to accidents, injuries or fatalities on the RHVP since January, 2014?
• Did anyone in the Public Works Office or Roads Department request, direct or conduct any other friction test, asphalt assessment, or general road safety reviews or assessments on the RHVP?
• Did subsequent consultant reports provide additional support or rebuttal to the conclusions contained in the Report?
• identify any changes to the City’s bylaws, policies and procedures to prevent any such future incidents of non-disclose of significant information to Council
• Why was the (2007) MTO report not provided to Council or made publicly available? Who in MTO knew about the report, and did the MTO Report contain findings or information that would have triggered Council to make safety changes to the roads or order further studies?
• Did the failure to disclose the MTO Report contribute to accidents, injuries or fatalities on the RHVP since January, 2014?
• What is the standard in Ontario, if any, with respect to the acceptable levels of friction on a roadway?
• To what extent do other factors, including, but not limited to, driver behaviour, lighting and weather conditions, contribute to motor vehicle accidents when compared to the impact of friction levels on motor vehicle accidents on the RHVP?
The terms of reference call for public hearings to take place in Hamilton, once the justice has completed a review of all relevant documents and that the hearings be open to live media coverage. The city’s legal counsel said the whole inquiry could be wrapped up in a year.

John Best had enjoyed a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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