Flowers and condolence messages are being left outside a construction site for 25-year-old Olivier Bruneau.

Paramedics said Bruneau died on Wednesday morning when a chunk of ice fell from the site’s excavation wall and struck him. At the time, he was working in the bottom of the 31 metre deep pit.

A worker, who did not want to be identified, said that he and other workers worried about the ice at the site. The man said he had raised concerns about the ice to management 24 hours before the incident.

The Ministry of Labour is investigating and issued 10 orders. According to their spokesperson, the ministry issued three orders to Claridge Homes, six to Bellai Brothers and one to ABF Armatures Bois Franc Inc.:

The following three orders were issued to Claridge Homes.

  1.  Ensure walls of an excavation be stripped of loose rock or other material (ice) that may slide, roll, or fall upon a worker.

  2.  Submit plan for review by MOL as to how the constructor shall remove ice buildup on the walls of the excavation before workers enter the excavation on the lower level of the project.

  3.  Provide documentation regarding site plan and safety talks related to falling ice.

The following six 6 orders Issued to Bellai Brothers Construction Ltd./ Bellai Frères Construction Ltée.

  1.  Provide documentation regarding the employment of the deceased worker.

  2.  Ensure all equipment is used in accordance with operating manuals issued by manufacturer.

  3.  Ensure precautions are used to prevent a worker from falling, i.e., a guardrail system.

  4.  Ensure precautions are used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface. A protective covering that completely covers the opening shall be securely fastened and identified.

  5.  Ladder shall be placed on a firm footing.

  6.  No productive work shall take place until all orders have been complied with.

The following 1 order was issued to ABF Armatures Bois Franc Inc.

  1.  Provide documentation regarding safety meetings related to ice and small stone fragments falling from excavation walls.

The president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council said more needed to be done, and that workers had complained to supervisors in the past.

“When workers go to work, they should be able to come home,” said ODLC President Sean McKenny. “They are going because they need the money, they want to put food on the table and it’s unfortunate again yesterday where we’ve had a fatality of a young kid who had family members for sure.

In fact, the Ministry of Labour were called to this site one month earlier for a separate incident. Spokesperson, Janet Deline, said the ministry acknowledged a previous complaint on Feb. 5, when the ministry was notified of a ‘non-reportable incident’  at 505 Preston St. involving a worker who was struck by falling ice. The injury in this case was apparently minor.


On Wednesday morning emergency crews were called to the construction site on Preston near Carling around 7:23 a.m.

Firefighters extricated the man from the pit. He was then transferred to hospital where he later died.

Superintendent Francois Cote with Ottawa Paramedics was one of the first responders on scene.

“At that point in time the patient, his coworkers told us that he was unconscious but he did regain consciousness… We were able to question him and he was alert,” said Cote.

Paramedics said using the stairs to remove the man from the pit could have taken anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. In an effort to save time crews used a crane to airlift the man to ground level.

Cote said the man went into cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital.

At the site there are several sign warning workers about the dangers of falling ice. Cote said the thick blocks at the site can weigh upwards of 25 kilograms.

ClaridgeIcon’s signage advertises this site as being the future home of the tallest building in Ottawa.

The ice against the walls measured at least 10 metres in length.

The Ottawa and District Labour Council are calling for a criminal investigation into this matter. The president, Sean McKenny, said workers at this site had expressed concerns regarding the ice in the past.

The Ministry of Labour is investigating.

“We’ve learned that ice from an excavation wall fell on a worker and that worker was employed by Billai Brothers. We do have workers on scene, we are still investigating the circumstance into this incident that remains under investigation, and so far, to date there no orders have been issued,” said Janet Deline, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Labour.