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Ontario appoints judge to head Ottawa LRT probe

Ontario appoints judge to head Ottawa LRT probe

The Ontario government has appointed the Justice William Hourigan as Commissioner to lead the public inquiry into the commercial and technical circumstances that led to the breakdown and derailment of Stage 1 of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.

“The challenges plaguing Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT are unacceptable and disappointing. This public inquiry is a prudent approach to uncovering the cause of these issues and preventing them from happening again,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Establishing the scope of the inquiry and appointing Justice Hourigan is an important step towards the safe implementation of the project, accountability, and value for taxpayer dollars.”

As former Chair of the Litigation Department at Fasken Martineau, Justice Hourigan specialized in complex commercial litigation while in practice. Justice Hourigan has over 25 years of experience in law and public service. He previously served as a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and was later elevated to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2013.

As Commissioner, Justice Hourigan will have a mandate to look into the procurement, delivery and operations of the Ottawa LRT Stage 1 system. He will also be responsible for delivering a report of the Commission’s findings by August 2022, including any recommendations to help ensure the safety of the Ottawa LRT system.

Mr. Justice Hourigan’s mandate will determine:

• Whether the city’s procurement process affected the technical standards for the Stage 1 design, construction, operation, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation;

• Whether the contract was adequate to ensure the design, construction, operation, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of the project was done in accordance with all laws and industry standards, including performance and safety;

• Whether RTG and its subcontractors carried out those works in accordance with laws and industry standards; and

• Whether the city’s oversight of the Stage 1 project was adequate, including decisions that led to the project being deemed substantially complete and the associated testing to support the declaration.

The Ontario government committed up to $600 million towards the Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT. The project spans 12.5 km in length with 13 stations through the downtown, running from Tunney’s Pasture in the west to Blair Station in the east.

The province will also provide the City of Ottawa with up to $1.2 billion to build the Ottawa Stage 2 LRT project. The Ottawa Stage 2 LRT project will add 44 kilometres of new rail, 24 new stations and consists of three light rail extensions.

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