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Residents demand probe of Labour Ministry's role in deadly Elliot Lake mall collapse

A worker walks by the rubble of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., on June 27, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A group of citizens from Elliot Lake, Ont., are calling for an independent probe of the provincial Ministry of Labour.

They want an investigation to examine what they was a failure by ministry officials to prevent last June’s deadly collapse of the Algo Centre Mall which killed two women.

Testifying last week at a public inquiry into the tragedy, an assistant deputy minister blamed others for the collapse, but said she was satisfied with how her officials had behaved.

The citizens group says the assistant deputy minister is in a clear conflict of interest.

It notes ministry inspection offices were housed in the leaky mall for 10 years until 1995.

The residents also say more than 30 complaints of health and safety violations were filed with the ministry in the seven years before the collapse but officials issued no work orders.

The public inquiry began in March and is expected to run through the summer and hear from 75 witnesses.