07/20/2012 04:59 EDT | Updated 09/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Elliot Lake Public Inquiry Kicks Off After Mall Collapse Kills Two

TORONTO - Ontario's public inquiry into the deadly mall collapse in Elliot Lake started Friday with the appointment of a commissioner.

Ottawa Justice Paul Belanger will lead the independent inquiry into the June 23 collapse of the roof at Algo Centre Mall, which killed two women.

The inquiry will focus on the events surrounding the collapse, municipal and provincial regulations on structural integrity and safety of the mall and the emergency response following the collapse.

The Attorney General's Ministry says the commissioner is expected to deliver a final report in 12 to 18 months.

Once the province receives the final report, it will be tabled in the legislature and made public.

A criminal investigation into the incident is also underway, and a $30-million lawsuit has been launched that names the mall owner, the city and the provincial government. None of those allegations have been proven in court.

The province says a website will be set up to keep the public informed throughout the inquiry.

"We're doing everything we can to prevent tragedies like the one in Elliot Lake from happening again," Attorney General John Gerretsen said Friday.

"We've given Commissioner Belanger a mandate to ask the kinds of tough questions about the collapse of the Algo Centre Mall that need asking. I look forward to his recommendations."

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