The ministry declined further comment on the charges. "We don’t comment on issues before the court,” said spokesman Matt Blajer.

But the Ontario provincial police, which is conducting an ongoing criminal probe, released a 130-page forensic engineering report on the collapse by Toronto-based engineer NORR Ltd. The firm was hired by the police.

“The clean bill of health given to the structure by a number of consultants in the past few years is quite alarming,” said NORR. "It is apparent that the severity of corrosion has generally been underestimated by previous inspectors of the mall."

The report said the forensic engineers were "hard pressed to find a similar example where a carbon-steel framed building in North America or Europe continued to corrode to the point of failure, when no other extreme case of loading contributes to failure."

In an executive summary, NORR said, “The choice of placing a parking deck on top of a public mall was an unfortunate one. Its ramifications potentially could have been avoided if a proper waterproofing system with a continuous membrane was installed at the outset.”

The problem could have “been reasonably solved in the years after construction had it not been for a deficiency in the capacity of the hollow core slabs,” said the report.

Hassan Saffarini, NORR manager of structural engineering, declined to comment, citing a confidentially agreement with the police.

Professional Engineers Ontario is conducting its own investigation. Information won’t be released until it is concluded, said PEO spokesman David Smith.

A new shopping mall, located about one kilometer from the demolished Algo Centre facility, is set for completion by the end of the year.