Man charged with arson after fire set at Canada Revenue Agency headquarters


A 33-year-old man faces three charges, including arson, after he allegedly broke into the historic Connaught Building and set a small fire that was quickly extinguished.

A 33-year-old man faces a trio of charges after a small fire was set Sunday at the downtown Ottawa building that houses the Canada Revenue Agency headquarters. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Police have charged a 33-year-old Ottawa man who allegedly started a small fire Sunday morning at the Connaught Building, home to the headquarters of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Both the Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, and the agency’s commissioner, Bob Hamilton, have offices in the historic building at 555 Mackenzie Ave., near the ByWard Market and Major’s Hill Park. 

According to the Ottawa Police Service, the man set the fire shortly after 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

The flames were quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system, police said.

Late Sunday afternoon, police said they had charged the man with one count of arson causing property damage, one count of possessing incendiary material and one count of mischief to property.

Police said the man turned himself in.

Smoke and water damage

In a statement, the CRA said the building suffered smoke and water damage, along with a broken window, and that it would perform any repairs.

While Ottawa police initially said the man had broken into the building, a CRA spokesperson said Sunday evening no one had gained entry.

The man’s motive remains unclear, the agency said. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The arson unit is investigating. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers, police said.

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