Public hearings in Ottawa LRT Inquiry begin today

The first public hearings in the inquiry looking into Stage 1 of the Ottawa LRT begin today, with a former rail director testifying.

John Jensen is the first of 41 witnesses scheduled to testify in the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry. The public hearings will be held at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law from today to July 8.

Riccardo Cosentino, of the Rideau Transit Group (RTG), is also scheduled to testify this afternoon.

Among the other witnesses set to testify in the coming days are former city of Ottawa treasurer Marian Simulik, former transit boss John Manconi, ex-RTG head Peter Lauch, representatives from Alstom, and a city panel of councilors Catherine McKenney, Allan Hubley, and Diane Deans along with transit commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert.

The Ontario government called a public inquiry into Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT in November 2021 after two derailments in the summer. The derailment on Sept. 19—the second in six weeks—kept the LRT system shut down for nearly two months.

The inquiry, led by Justice William Hourigan, has a mandate to investigate the commercial and technical circumstances that led to Stage 1 breakdowns and derailments. It will look at the decisions and actions that were taken in determining the procurement approach the city selected for Stage 1, the selection of the Rideau Transit Group to build the system and the awarding of the contract.

City, Alstom, RTG take shots at each other ahead of hearings

The Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission collected more than one million documents—identifying more than 10,000 as relevant—and conducted more than 90 witness interviews ahead of the public hearings.

Last week, Ottawa Light Rail Transit Public Inquiry released opening statements and interview transcripts. Alstom, the maker of the Citadis Spirit trains that run on the Confederation Line, said in its opening statements that the city of Ottawa and RTG—the consortium that built the line—knew there were issues prior to the September 2019 launch.

However, Mayor Jim Watson told the public inquiry that city staff were “satisfied” the LRT system was substantially complete and ready for launch. The Rideau Transit Group, meanwhile, criticized the city of Ottawa for launching the system at full capacity, and said it was “let down” by Alstom.

Witness Schedule (subject to change)

DAY 1 – June 13

  • John Jensen (City of Ottawa) – Morning
  • Riccardo Cosentino (Rideau Transit Group) – Afternoon

DAY 2 – June 14

  • Rob Pattison (Infrastructure Ontario) – Morning
  • Marian Simulik (City of Ottawa) – Afternoon

DAY 3 – June 15

  • John Traianopoulos (Infrastructure Ontario) – Morning
  • Nancy Schepers (City of Ottawa) – Afternoon

DAY 4 – June 16

  • Yves Declercq (Alstom Transport Canada Inc.) – Morning
  • Manuel Rivaya (OLRT Constructors) – Afternoon

DAY 5 – June 17

  • Antonio Estrada (Rideau Transit Group) – Morning
  • Rupert Holloway (OLRT Constructors) – Afternoon

DAY 6 – June 20

  • Rowing Bucci (Deloitte) – Morning
  • Michael Burns (Thales Canada Inc.) – Afternoon

DAY 7 – June 21

  • Lowell Goudge (Alstom Transport Canada Inc.) – Morning
  • Jacques Bergeron (OLRT Constructors) – Afternoon

DAY 8 – June 22

  • Bertrand Bouteloup (Alstom Transport Canada Inc.) – Morning
  • Parsons/Delcan Panel – Thomas Fodor, Mike Palmer, Jonathan Hulse – Afternoon

DAY 9 – June 23

  • Richard Holder (City of Ottawa) – Morning
  • Monica Sechiari (Altus Group/IC) – Afternoon

DAY 10 – June 24

  • Matthew Slade (OLRT Constructors/Rideau Transit Maintenance) – Morning
  • Yang Liu (Alstom Transport Canada Inc.) – Afternoon

DAY 11 – June 27

  • Michael Morgan (City of Ottawa) – Morning
  • Brian Guest (Boxfish) – Afternoon

DAY 12 – June 28

  • Thomas Prendergast (STV Inc.) – Morning
  • John Manconi (City of Ottawa) – Afternoon

DAY 13 – June 29

  • Peter Lauch (Rideau Transit Group) – Morning
  • City of Ottawa Panel – Catherine McKenney, Allan Hubley, Sarah Wright-Gilbert, Diane Deans – Afternoon

DAY 14 – June 30

  • Derek Wynne (SEMP) and Sergio Mammoliti (TUV Rheinland/ISA) – Morning
  • Jim Watson (City of Ottawa) – Afternoon

DAY 15 – July 4

  • Steve Kanellakos (City of Ottawa) – Morning

DAY 16 – July 5

  • Larry Gaul (STV Inc.) – Morning
  • Troy Charter (City of Ottawa) – Afternoon

DAY 17 – July 6

  • Richard France (Alstom Transport Canada Inc.) – Morning
  • Brandon Richards (City of Ottawa) – Afternoon

DAY 18 – July 7

  • Mario Guerra (Rideau Transit Management) – Morning
  • Nicolas Truchon (Rideau Transit Group) – Afternoon

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Josh Pringle.

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