Public hearings into Ottawa LRT to run June 13 to July 8

A window is broken and the wheels of a segment of an OC Transpo O-Train is seen west of Tremblay LRT Station in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 after it derailed on Sunday. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Public hearings into Stage 1 of Ottawa’s LRT program will begin next month and run for just over three weeks.

The hearings will take place at the University of Ottawa’s Ian G. Scott Courtroom from June 13 to July 8.

Prior to the hearings, the Commission is also holding two public meetings on May 25 and 26, at the Shaw Centre from 7 to 9 p.m., to allow people to share their views on the breakdowns and derailments of the LRT. The public has until May 20 at 5 p.m. to register for the public meetings.

The Ontario government called a public inquiry into Stage 1 of LRT last November, following two derailments within six weeks last summer, including one that kept the O-Train offline for nearly two full months.

The Commission has a mandate to investigate the commercial and technical circumstances that led to the many issues riders have experienced since the system launched in 2019. During the hearings, key witnesses representing the parties involved in Stage 1 of the project will testify under oath.

Justice William Hourigan has been appointed commissioner to lead the public inquiry.

City Manager Steve Kanellakos says the inquiry is well underway and interviewing witnesses.

"What we're waiting for is who will the commission ask to appear in the public hearings," he said. "A lot of work has been happening behind the scenes. The city has provided well over half a million documents—not pages, documents—to the commission. We have provided lists of people and potential witnesses, hundreds and hundreds of people going back to 2007, and the commission council and the commissioner have made a determination of who they’re going to interview and that process is still underway and should be wrapping up, I think, very soon.”

The hearings will be open to the public and media. The commission says the public is encouraged to visit the university to watch the hearings via livestream broadcast in a large auditorium near the hearing room. The livestream for the hearings will also be available on the Commission’s website in English and French and the hearings will also be broadcast on television on Rogers channels in English and in French.

The schedule for the day’s hearings will be posted on the Commission’s website.

Anyone can contact the Commission at info@OLRTpublicinquiry.ca or by calling 1-833-597-1955 if they have any general enquiries or to submit information that will assist the Commission’s investigation.