2019 Minister’s Transition Book 2: Core responsibility 3—Property and infrastructure

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Real property services overview

The department is mandated by the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act to provide real property services to departments and agencies on both a mandatory and fee-for-services basis. Additionally, the department is mandated by the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act to acquire, administer and dispose of real property for the Government of Canada and the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act to administer the payments instead of property taxes to local governments for property owned by federal departments and agencies.

Public Services and Procurement Canada manages one of the largest and most diverse real estate portfolios in the country, providing federal departments and organizations with affordable, productive work environments, a full range of real property services, as well as strategic and expert advice. Real Property Services, the branch responsible for managing the real property, is comprised of 3,806 Footnote 1 employees located within the National Capital Area, Pacific, Western, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions with specializations in the following service lines:

Key responsibilities

The department is the mandatory provider of office space to approximately 260,000 federal employees across 99 federal departments and agencies. The total property asset value held by the department is $7.5 billion, approximately 88% of which are office accommodations and special purpose spaces (for example, courts and laboratories).

The department is also responsible for a portfolio of 17 engineering assets that provide essential services to the public and heating plants in the National Capital Area. These assets include bridges, dams, the Alaska Highway and the Esquimalt Graving Dock.

The department also provides other federal departments, agencies and the Parliament of Canada with responsive and cost-effective real property services like facilities management, workplace fit-ups, site clean-up and remediation, property valuation services and engineering expertise.

Major initiatives

A number of strategic initiatives are underway to build a robust national approach for service delivery. These include:

These initiatives are described in the following sections.

In this Section

Real property services current projects

The department provides other federal departments, agencies and the Parliament of Canada with responsive and cost-effective real property services like facilities management, workplace fit-ups, site clean-up and remediation, property valuation services and engineering expertise. The examples below are not exhaustive, but provide an overview of the kinds of projects currently underway in the National Capital Area, the regions and in the context of site remediation.

National Capital Area

The Supreme Court of Canada and West Memorial

The Supreme Court of Canada Building, a classified federal heritage building, has not had a complete rehabilitation since its original construction in 1938. Key building systems in the Supreme Court of Canada building are failing and the building requires constant monitoring. To proceed with the rehabilitation work at the Supreme Court of Canada Building, swing space for these high-profile court functions is required.

The West Memorial Building, also a classified federal heritage building, is located opposite to the Judicial Precinct along the ceremonial route of the Confederation Boulevard. This strategic location makes it suitable for interim accommodations during the rehabilitation of the Supreme Court of Canada Building and ideal for continued government use over the longer term.

Place du Portage III

Place du Portage III was built between 1973 and 1978 and forms a major part of the 4 phase Place du Portage complex. It is the headquarters of Public Services and Procurement Canada. The department’s accommodation strategy is to retain and modernize this complex as a cornerstone accommodation holding that assists the government in meeting the federal public servant employment distribution ratio of 75:25 between Ontario and Quebec in the National Capital Area.

The main objective of the Place du Portage III Asset and Workplace Renewal Project is to conduct a complete building retrofit inclusive of base building, workplace modernization and IT requirements. By increasing the overall performance of the building systems, thereby reducing the operation and maintenance costs for the building, the Place du Portage III asset and workplace renewal project will contribute to the Real Property Services’ goals of ensuring effective and efficient portfolio management and modernization, and greening of operations.

Les Terrasses de la Chaudière

Les Terrasses de la Chaudière complex was built between 1976 and 1978. It is composed of 4 office towers located in downtown Gatineau. The complex accommodates over 6,400 people, as well as retail, daycare and storage space. The department is committed to systematically renewing Les Terasses de la Chaudière complex over the long term. This will include the modernization of the interior space and upgrades to mechanical, electrical, heating and cooling systems, as well as the renewal of the site.

This complex contains the administrative headquarters for various departments including Indigenous Services Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Canadian Heritage, the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission and the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Lester B. Pearson Building

The Lester B. Pearson building located at 125 Sussex Drive in Ottawa was built between 1970 and 1973 to accommodate the then Department of External Affairs, now Global Affairs Canada. The building requires significant recapitalization due to its age; systems are at the end of their useful life and the building no longer meets federal office accommodation standards.

The department’s accommodation strategy is to retain and modernize the building, as it will remain the headquarters and flagship for Global Affairs Canada. The building has been identified to be a greening showcase facility and will support the objective of reaching a carbon neutral portfolio by 2030 with the incorporation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, innovative sustainable solutions and the new government of Canada (GC) workplace fit-up standards.

Carling Campus

In 2010, the department purchased Nortel's Carling Campus from Nortel Networks Technology Corporation and Nortel Networks Limited. This campus in the west end of Ottawa, comprised of 11 buildings, will allow the department to consolidate a significant portion of the office accommodation it provides to the Department of National Defence. It will provide approximately 45% of National Defence's total space requirement in the National Capital Area in a single, suburban, Crown-owned location.

By consolidating the majority of its administration and strategic functions into a campus environment, the Department of National Defence will be better positioned to save on operating costs and accommodate their personnel in a secure environment. The Carling Campus project is the largest real estate relocation project of its kind in Canada.

Regional projects

Province House

On October 1, 1974, the Government of Canada, through Parks Canada, signed a memorandum of agreement with the Province of Prince Edward Island to restore, preserve, interpret and administer Province House as a national historic site. It was given exclusive occupancy of designated areas for 99 years. The complex conservation project for Prince Edward Island’s Province House, known as the birthplace of Canada, is ongoing and will be entering the final phase of construction in 2020.

Between 1974 and 2015, Parks Canada operated Province House as a national historic site and provided guided tours to the public. At the same time, the facility housed the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island and other provincial government offices. In 2015, the historic building was closed by Parks Canada to begin exterior conservation work. On behalf of Parks Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada is now managing the conservation project of Prince Edward Island’s Province House.

Tax Centre building site, Shawinigan, Quebec

The department is the custodian of the Tax Centre Building located in Shawinigan, Quebec. The building was constructed in 1978, and the Canada Revenue Agency is its main tenant. On February 4, 2019, the construction of a new building was announced, to be located on the current site of the Tax Centre Building (also known as the Canada Revenue Agency’s National Verification and Collections Centre) in Shawinigan. The project includes the construction of a new building, the demolition of the current building and development of the parking lot.

This project will provide federal employees working in Shawinigan with a modern, accessible and environmentally friendly state-of-the-art building. The new building will aim to obtain a gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for new construction rating.

Canadian High Arctic Research Station

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station is a research facility in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut that provides both national and international scientists with a year-round base for northern science and technology research. The research station is the home of Polar Knowledge Canada’s Science and Technology Program. It is comprised of the main research building, the field and maintenance building and 2 triplex accommodation buildings for visiting researchers. Most of the facility is finished, but some systems in the main research building are still being completed.

The department is providing project management and procurement services for the design and construction of the facility to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada who was mandated to build the facility on behalf of the Polar Knowledge Canada’s Science and Technology Program. The facility has an energy-efficient design and LEED gold certification is being pursued.


Giant Mine

The Giant Mine is a defunct gold mine near the city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which is severely contaminated by lethal arsenic trioxide dust stored in large underground excavated areas, 95 hectares of open pits, tailing ponds with surface waste, and buildings contaminated with fibrous asbestos. Should the arsenic trioxide be released in the local groundwater system, there could be serious implications for nearby fresh-water bodies, including the Great Slave Lake.

The project’s broad objectives are to clean up the site to industrial use standards; stabilize and secure the arsenic trioxide; and minimize health and safety risks to the public and site workers during the care and maintenance, implementation, and long-term operations. In advance of the full remediation phase, the department has been addressing urgent on-site risks to public and environmental health and safety.

National Office Portfolio Strategy

The department has developed a National Office Portfolio Strategy that lays out the overarching principles and objectives to guide a more strategic management of the portfolio.


The department is responsible for: federal office space, and by exception, special purpose assets (heritage, security, science, courts, etc.); providing healthy, safe, productive workspaces to federal employees to carry out their programs; and portfolio management and individual investment decisions, driven by portfolio strategies.

Tenants are responsible for identifying their space requirements and for providing their share of funding for fit-ups. Shared Services Canada is responsible for implementing IT fit-up requirements (for example networks, telephony, Wi-Fi) for their 43 partner departments.

The National Office Portfolio Strategy lays out the department’s current, whole-of-government portfolio-based approach to real property assets. The strategy is designed to:

The National Office Portfolio Strategy is the foundation for the development of an action plan detailing how to achieve the principles defined in the strategy.

Current status

The action plan is under development. [Redacted]. The department will support the minister in shaping these plans to reflect the government’s overall priorities and to shape the actions to advance it during the coming mandate.

Modernizing the workplace

The department is the designated custodian of general-purpose office accommodation, provided on an obligatory basis to client departments. It sets the standards for office accommodation and assigns space to client departments in accordance with the Space Allocation Standards. The purpose of these standards is to describe the maximum space allocations to be applied when planning, acquiring and monitoring use of office accommodation. GCworkplace is the strategy the department is implementing to maximize the utilization of office space allocations and to create modern and effective workspaces for public servants.


There have been various iterations of space standards in the federal workplace. The traditional model was based on closed offices and high-walled cubicles, with space assigned according to hierarchical level. Workplace 2.0, which became the standard in 2012, reduced the space allocation per employee by lowering cubicle walls, creating more collaborative workspaces and maintaining closed offices for more senior-level employees. It did not, however, fundamentally transform the workplace by introducing more mobile work tools, reduce the use of paper or lead to a significant higher level of space utilization.

GCworkplace differs from these previous standards as it is based on the concept of activity-based working, which empowers employees to choose where and how to work based on their activities and provides them with equal access to a variety of shared work spaces. It requires access to wifi, mobile tools, and reduced reliance on paper. When space is unassigned, there are significant opportunities for space savings through increased utilization of available space.

There are a number of GCworkplace fitups now in operation across the country which have received very positive response from employees in early survey data. Departments are increasingly seeking GCworkplace designs in their workspaces.

The pace of GCworkplace implementation is limited by available annual funding for fitups and existing departmental authorities. Implementation also requires readiness on the part of the client to adopt new ways of working (for example, mobile, paper-light). Finally, the successful transition to GCworkplace must include employee engagement to support culture change and shared ownership of the new, collaborative office spaces.

With much of the Crown-owned portfolio in need of recapitalization, and much of the leased portfolio coming up for lease renewal within the next 5 years, there is a need for significant investment in the fit-up of federal workspaces. This presents a generational opportunity to accelerate and advance the implementation of GCworkplace, which will significantly increase space utilization, produce annual savings in operating costs, and better support public service collaboration, productivity and innovation. The department is preparing options for how best to respond to this opportunity, given variability in departmental readiness and implementation challenges.

The GCworkplace is an opportunity to create world-class, innovative workplaces that will inspire public servants, while using scarce space and financial resources more efficiently. It reflects today’s needs for greater workforce mobility, and will help deliver on digital, greening and diversity and inclusion objectives.

Current status

Client demand for GCworkplace is high, although client readiness to support new ways of working is mixed. The strategy to address the growing demand for GCworkplace is to leverage early adopters who have invested in technology and digital business processes, and provide them with innovative GCworkplace designs. Departments not at minimum readiness will be offered less flexible, assigned spaces, but these will be designed to allow an eventual transition to activity-based working. This allows clients to adapt at their own pace.

An additional office innovation is GCcoworking, provides employees with an alternative workplace to their usual workplace, either closer to home or at a more convenient location. This inter-departmental shared space allows employees from multiple departments to share the same work space and collaborate on shared programs or deliverables. A 2-year pilot of this concept began in 2019 in key nodes in the National Capital Area and other locations nationally.

Strategy for engineering assets

The department is responsible for a portfolio of 17 major engineering assets: public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and dams, and the Esquimalt Graving Dock. This portfolio has a replacement value of over $5 billion. Although these 17 engineering assets have been surplus to the department program requirements since 1985, except for the Esquimalt Graving Dock which was deemed a strategic asset to Canada in 2008, there remains little opportunity for divestiture or transfer, with a few notable exceptions.


With the adoption of an accrual budget envelope in 2019, the department has the stable and predictable funding to develop a long term investment strategy and plan to effectively support the stewardship of these assets. This plan will identify funding priorities based on a comprehensive risk and life-cycle analysis. Additionally, some of these assets are important economic drivers, and there is a need to review investment objectives beyond the current plans that seek only to address health and safety and end-of-lifespan replacement.

Funding priorities identified in Budget 2019 include the national capital interprovincial crossings, the Alaska Highway and the Esquimalt Graving Dock. These 3 budget 2019 priorities are described in more detail in separate sections of this package.

Moving forward, the department will need to confirm the strategic direction for the remainder of its engineering assets portfolio, which includes:

It is unlikely that any of the dams or other bridges will be of interest to divestiture candidates. The department will seize opportunities to improve operational and/or business models through collaboration with provincial/municipal/Indigenous partners, and if possible public/private partnerships.

Interprovincial crossings

Custody of the 5 interprovincial crossings in the National Capital Area is divided between the department and the National Capital Commission. The department operates the Alexandra Bridge, the Chaudière Crossing and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, while the National Capital Commission is responsible for the Portage Bridge and Champlain Bridge. The department also manages the Des Joachims Bridge, which connects Rolphton, Ontario with Rapides-des-Joachims, Quebec.

The National Capital Area interprovincial crossings are vital links between Ottawa and Gatineau. In 2017, the 5 interprovincial crossings carried close to 150,000 vehicles and 9,000 pedestrians and cyclists on a daily basis. Transportation studies conducted over the last 10 years have consistently shown that the existing crossings and connecting roadways are at full capacity during morning and evening peak hours.


Budget 2019 announced $80.4 million over 10 years to rehabilitate and maintain the Chaudière Crossing, the Alexandra Bridge and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. Budget 2019 also made a commitment to replace the Alexandra Bridge, to develop a long-term, integrated interprovincial crossing plan, and to refresh existing studies for an additional National Capital Area crossing (a sixth bridge).

Rehabilitation and repair of existing bridges

There are 6 department-led repair projects identified in Budget 2019 to address required repairs on the Alexandra Bridge, Chaudière Crossing, and MacDonald-Cartier Bridge. These repairs are required to safely maintain continued use of these bridges.

Work is underway to update the risk profile of the bridges based on factors such as structural integrity, and health and safety. This work is key to the development of the National Engineering Assets Portfolio Strategy.

Alexandra Bridge replacement

The Alexandra Bridge is more than 100 years old and nearing the end of its lifecycle. The replacement of Alexandra Bridge will increase employment for construction and engineering companies, and Indigenous groups during design and construction. It will not increase the capacity for vehicular traffic, as there will be one vehicular lane in each direction as currently. There is also the possibility to include a dedicated lane for public transit to connect the Gatineau public transit system to the Ottawa light rail transit (LRT). This will be confirmed in March 2020 through a transportation study being led by the National Capital Commission with departmental participation.

Because it will be a new bridge, it should be subject to fewer maintenance closures and be more reliable for all users. It will contain enhanced pedestrian and cyclist facilities to benefit active transportation users and provide a better experience for tourists who wish to view the surrounding landscape, such as Parliament Hill. The next steps are to undertake structural repair projects (structural steel replacement around piers and under the boardwalk) while the department actively plans for its replacement. [Redacted]

Current status
Long-term integrated interprovincial crossing plan

A long-term integrated interprovincial crossing plan is under development by the National Capital Commission in collaboration with the department, the governments of Quebec and Ontario, and the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa. Over the long-term, this plan will consider all means of transportation, including light rail, public transit, vehicles, cyclists and pedestrian requirements.

Sixth crossing

Budget 2019 announced the government’s intent to address the need for an additional National Capital Region crossing by refreshing studies and developing a long-term integrated interprovincial crossing plan led by the National Capital Commission with both provincial governments and the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa. A contract to refresh studies completed in 2013 has been awarded and a kick-off meeting was held in July 2019. The studies refresh will start with an analysis of the City of Ottawa’s traffic data. It is expected that the updated information and costs for pre-planning and project execution will be presented for a final project decision.

Esquimalt Graving Dock

The Esquimalt Graving Dock is the largest open access multi-user dry-dock facility on the west coast of the Americas. The department operates the dock, and leases space and provides services (cranes, air, water, electricity, docking, etc.) under the Esquimalt Graving Dock Regulations to ship repair contractor tenants. The facility strengthens the west coast industrial ship repair industry, supports over 1,350 high-paying skilled trade jobs, and is a significant contributor to local, regional and provincial economies.


The facility is a strategic asset as it is key to ensuring the sustainment of federal west coast fleets, as well as the provincial Crown ferry fleet and a wide range of coastal and ocean-going vessels. The Esquimalt Graving Dock is required to sustain federal fleets, including sustainment of the 4 Victoria-class submarines, 5 west-coast Halifax-class frigates, and in the future, joint support ships, 7 or 8 new Canadian surface combatant vessels, and 3 or 4 Arctic offshore patrol ships, as well as new Canadian Coast Guard vessels.

In recent years, investments have been made to mitigate health and safety risks and legal liability by refurbishing legacy infrastructure (such as electrical distribution system and contaminated water lot) so the facility remains safe and operational.

In parallel, third-party assessments have looked at industrial ship repair infrastructure capacity gaps on the west coast and recommended a program of work that will effectively double capacity of both the dry dock and ‘alongside’ operational space at Esquimalt Graving Dock, with supporting infrastructure.

Budget 2019 identified funding for strategic investments required to redevelop the Esquimalt Graving Dock to ensure critical capacity gaps are addressed and legacy infrastructure is refurbished. Expansion projects funded by Budget 2019 include:

Current status

Planning has commenced to expand the Graving Dock and wharf capacity and add warehouse and parking infrastructure, and design and consultation work required for the ‘in-water works’ portion of the overall redevelopment plan is underway. Planned future projects include expansion of ‘alongside’ capacity (North Landing Wharf extension), additional operational areas (laydown areas) accessible by a ship lift, storage and specialty shop space for tenants, and a consolidated program support building outside the high-activity operational area.

A master plan integrating all components of the redevelopment will be provided by spring 2020. Decision documents will be drafted by spring 2020 [Redacted], followed by detailed design later in 2020 and well into 2021. [Redacted] with construction in 2022.

Alaska Highway

The Alaska Highway is the principal overland access route to northwestern Canada and Alaska. After the Second World War, in 1946, the portion of the highway in Canada was transferred to the Department of National Defence and then to Public Services and Procurement Canada in 1964. The section of the highway from Kilometer 0 (Dawson Creek) to Kilometer 133 (north of Fort St. John) was transferred to the Province of British Columbia in 1961. The Yukon portion of the highway was transferred to the Yukon Government effective April 1, 1992.


The department remains the operational custodian for the 835 kilometers of highway stretching from Kilometer 133 to Kilometer 968 (the British Columbia/Yukon border). In addition to the maintenance and conversion program for the road surface, the program of work covers 56 bridges, hundreds of culverts, 10 maintenance yards, 10 salt sheds and numerous pits and quarries.

The Alaska Highway requires continual capital investment over and above day-to-day operations and maintenance to maintain a safe operating condition. Established as an Army road during the Second World War, it has undergone gradual improvements over the years. In addition, ongoing wear and tear, environmental damage, and normal deterioration of road surfaces, bridges, and drainage structures all result in the need to invest in renewal, rehabilitation, and repair work to ensure the asset is preserved and safe and effective operating performance is maintained.

Each year, the department develops a capital program of work for the Alaska Highway. Capital investment needs are identified and prioritized through a series of annual and periodic inspection programs, condition assessments, safety inspections, and strategic planning initiatives. The overall program of work for the Alaska Highway prioritizes risk mitigation, improving safety, maintaining the asset as efficiently as possible, and minimizing life cycle costs by ensuring optimal timing of investments to protect, maintain and maximize the service life of the asset or asset components.

Current status

With Budget 2019, the department has the predictable funding necessary to develop a long-term investment strategy and plan for its engineering assets, including Alaska Highway. A 10-year program of work to recapitalize this asset and to meet accepted engineering and management standards for comparable highways has been identified and will form a key part of the strategy and plan for engineering assets.

The Alaska Highway is not required for the department program purposes and could be divested. However, a willing recipient has not been identified, and studies have indicated there is no potential for tolling or privatization.

The department will continue to act as a responsible steward and ensure the highway is safe for use as the principal transportation corridor through north-east British Columbia and the main link with the Yukon and Alaska.

Accessible federal government built environment


The Accessible Canada Act (Bill C-81) received royal assent on June 21, 2019. This act aims at removing barriers in:

Employment and Social Development Canada is the lead for the accessible Government of Canada agenda under the Accessible Canada Act and, as such, leads policy, legislation and regulations on accessibility and disability for the Government of Canada. Employment and Social Development Canada coordination with other government departments is done through the Interdepartmental Committee on Disability Issues.

The Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization, created in August 2019, will develop standards and regulations for compliance.

The Office of Public Service Accessibility at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is responsible for developing an accessibility strategy for the public service of Canada and an implementation plan to help departments and agencies prepare for the act. They are supported by a robust governance structure, which includes a deputy minister advisory group, an external expert advisory group, an assistant deputy minister steering committee and various working groups.

Within Public Services and Procurement Canada, departmental accessibility activities are coordinated through the department’s Accessibility Office.

The Accessible Government Built Environment Initiative

The department received Treasury Board expenditure authority to perform technical accessibility assessments on a portion of its Crown-owned portfolio from 2019 to 2024 in order to establish the accessibility benchmark for the built environment with the new 2018 Canadian Standards Association Code Requirements for Accessibility. These assessments will identify recommended accessibility improvements, estimated costs to bring the base building elements into compliance and engage with the accessibility community to include the user experience. These assessments will strive to define ‘above and beyond’ elements to ensure an accessible user experience and foster inclusion throughout federal buildings.

Central to the Accessible Government Built Environment Initiative is consultation with networks and organizations representing various disability groups, and collaboration among federal departments. Key stakeholders from the private sector that have been involved in defining the ‘above and beyond’ criteria are:

Current status

A phased procurement strategy was developed to ensure that the department is able to deliver on its mandate on a timely and efficient basis.

Phase 1 involved the release of a request for information by the department seeking insight on the maturity and capacity of the industry to provide technical accessibility assessments in a systematic and cost effective manner.

Phase 2 (currently underway) saw the launch of a competitive process by invitation to the Rick Hansen Foundation and requests for information respondents. This will allow the department to test the ‘above and beyond’ framework, consolidate knowledge and best practices on accessibility for the built environment, and address a broad spectrum of disabilities. Assessments began in late summer 2019, and a total of 24 buildings will be assessed this calendar year.

Phase 3 (planned for Spring 2020): The third phase of the procurement strategy will feature the launch of a procurement tool kit for other federal custodians to help identify the procurement approach best suited to the needs with respect to accessibility of the built environment. This procurement tool will be defined in consultation with other federal custodians and will result in a comprehensive and consistent assessment of the federal portfolio.

Consultation with the Network for Persons with Disabilities allowed Real Property Services to identify a shortlist of 22 high impact / low cost accessibility improvements and will begin implementation of these items this fiscal year and next (2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021). Additional funding to undertake accessibility related improvements identified through the technical assessments will be required in the future.

Reducing federal greenhouse gas emissions

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy presents the Government of Canada's sustainable development goals and targets, as required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act.

In keeping with the objectives of the act, the department supports reaching goals laid out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy through the activities described in its Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.


The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy set a target of a 40% reduction (compared to 2005 levels) in greenhouse gas emissions from federal government operations by 2030. In 2018, Treasury Board Secretariat developed the Greening Government Strategy and set an additional greening target. Specifically, the Greening Government Strategy sets an aspirational target of an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from federal government operations by 2050.

To take a position of leadership and to create a culture of change in the real property community, the department gave itself a more ambitious target than the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. As part of its Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy, the department committed to achieving a carbon neutral portfolio for its crown-owned assets by 2050, with an aspirational target of 2030.

In order to achieve its goal of a carbon-neutral portfolio, the department prepared a national carbon neutral portfolio plan in March 2017 and an associated asset level implementation tool in 2019. The plan prioritizes:

The implementation tool allows the department to be more strategic in achieving a carbon neutral portfolio. It provides the department with environmental benefit realization information for all projects within the portfolio that affect energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The implementation tool also provides life cycle costing financial information. Because of this, the department now has the capability to prioritize greening investments based on financial and environmental rating criteria. When used in conjunction with the National Office Portfolio Strategy, greening investment decision making is more strategic and allows the department to concentrate our resources (people and funding) where best value is available.

The department can achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of 90% solely by investing in its assets, without resorting to the procurement of renewable energy through power purchase agreements. The remaining 10% greenhouse gas emissions will be achieved via procurement tools; for example renewable energy credits and the development of power purchase agreements for clean, renewable energy.

Under this plan, the department recently launched a roadmap to low carbon federal operations in the National Capital Area with participation from over a dozen other federal government departments that have custodian responsibilities for real property. The roadmap will identify short, medium and long-term actions that will reduce the carbon impact of federal operations and provide leadership in decarbonising the National Capital Area in ways that can be replicated across Canada.

The department also developed a greenhouse gas emissions options analysis that is applied to all projects that affect energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The greenhouse gas emissions options analysis facilitates the incorporation of greenhouse gas emission reduction into investment decisions at the project level. The 25 St. Clair recapitalization project in Toronto is the first large-scale project to use the project greenhouse gas options analysis methodology. It is expected that recapitalization will reduce the building’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80%.

Other key elements of the department’s carbon neutral portfolio plan include leveraging smart building technology and the Energy Services Acquisition Program. The program will modernize the current network of heating and cooling plants and the associated distribution piping to increase energy efficiency (described in more detail in a separate section).

Current status

As of fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the department has reduced its operational emissions by 54%, surpassing the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2030 target. Due to the initiatives described above, the department is also on its way to achieving its goal of a carbon-neutral portfolio for its Crown-owned assets.

Energy Services Acquisition Program

In June 2019, the department’s Energy Services Acquisition Program signed an agreement with Innovate Energy, a public private partnership for the modernization of the district energy system in the National Capital Area. The public private partnership will design, build, operate and maintain the district energy system, with construction to be completed in 2025.

The department retains the assets and is responsible for preparing each building for connection to the system, a program referred to as the User Building Conversion Plan. After construction completion, the public private partnership is contracted to operate and maintain the district energy system until 2055.


In the National Capital Area, over 80 buildings, including the Parliament buildings, are on the district energy system that connects to central plants using over 14 kilometers of underground piping to provide heating by steam and cooling by chilled water. This system was built between 50 and 100 years ago. The infrastructure is reaching the end of its service life and it uses outdated technology that is inefficient and expensive to maintain.

The department supports reaching goals laid out in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. The department’s national carbon neutral portfolio plan prioritizes reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the energy performance of its assets. Modernizing the outdated district energy system is a key part of this plan.

The Energy Services Acquisition Program includes the Energy Services Modernization Project, which will modernize the district energy system in the National Capital Area. The Energy Services Modernization Project will involve the conversion of the system to use low-temperature hot water for heating and to electric chillers for cooling. The investment in modern technology will result in an estimated cost avoidance of more than $500 million over the next 35 years.

Budget 2016 provided the funding required to complete the Energy Services Modernization Project. The project will be delivered as a public-private partnership with Innovate Energy to replace the current infrastructure and to operate and maintain the system over a 35year period. The department will retain ownership of all these assets throughout the term of the contract.

Modernization will increase safety, efficiency, reliability and environmental performance, resulting in a reduction of operating costs and an estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 33%. Future activities will move towards “deeper greening” by replacing natural gas with carbon neutral fuels for baseload operation, a move that has the potential to reduce total emissions by 90% by 2030.

In addition to the modernization of the plants, the Energy Services Acquisition Program is undertaking the conversion of all connected user buildings from either high-pressure steam or high-temperature hot water heating to technology that can accept low-temperature hot water through the user building conversion plan. The Energy Services Acquisition Program is responsible for delivering building conversions through various delivery mechanisms; however, the conversion of connected user buildings is not part of the public private partnership contract. The expected completion date of all building conversions is the end of September 2024. This will ensure all buildings are ready for connection to the modernized district energy system.

Current status

The public private partnership contract with Innovate Energy was finalized in May 2019. On April 1, 2020, they will take over operation and maintenance of the existing system and deliver a modernized system by the end of October 2025; and then operate and maintain the modernized district energy system until October 2055.

Prompt payment

On April 8, 2019, prompt payment legislation was tabled in the House of Commons as part of the Budget Implementation Act, receiving royal assent on June 21, 2019. The federal legislation will apply for Government of Canada work across the country, and will be relevant for industries and activities under federal jurisdiction. Under the terms of the act, the federal government will have 28 days to pay after the contractor submits a proper invoice. The prime contractor will then have 7 days to pay its subcontractors, subcontractors will have another 7 days to pay their sub-subcontractors, and so on down the contracting chain.


Contractual relationships in construction projects are complex and hierarchical. An owner awards a contract to a prime contractor who, in turn, engages a number of subcontractors who then engage sub-subcontractors and suppliers, resulting in a multi-tiered structure. The Government of Canada has a long-standing position of keeping arm’s length with subcontractors and refraining from involvement between the prime contractor and any lower tier supplier.

The department pays 96% of its invoices within 30 days; however, these payments were not always flowing from the prime contractor to the lower tiers in a timely fashion. The industry estimated that in 2015, on a total of $285 billion of construction contracts, there were $45.9 billion (16%) of delayed payments nationally.‎ While federal construction activities represent under 2% of the Canadian commercial construction industry, the Canadian Construction Association has communicated that the federal government is the single largest procurer of construction services.

In response to these concerns, the department, Defence Construction Canada, and the Canadian Construction Association created a government-industry working group to consider ways to improve the speed of payment on federal construction jobs. A 14-point action plan was developed (10 actions have been completed to date), including the recommendation that legislation be enacted to ensure prompt payment at all levels of the construction supply chain.

Current status

Although the Federal Prompt Payment for Construction Work Act has received royal assent, there remains a significant amount of work to complete before the prompt payment regime is in effect.

Finally, when the three items above are completed, a Governor in Council order will bring the Federal Prompt Payment for Construction Work Act into force. [Redacted].

The long term vision and plan for the parliamentary precinct

Public Services and Procurement Canada is implementing the Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary Precinct—a multi-decade plan for the restoration and modernization for the buildings and grounds on and around Parliament Hill.

In this Section


The Parliamentary Precinct is comprised of 35 Crown-owned buildings, of which 28 are designated federal heritage properties, including the parliamentary triad (West Block, Centre Block, and East Block), as well as several leased properties throughout the National Capital Region. Responsibility for the precinct is split between the legislative and executive branches

Legislative Branch:
Parliament is responsible for determining its needs and project requirements, as well as parliamentary operations.
Executive Branch:
The Minister of Public Services and Procurement is the custodian of the buildings and grounds of the precinct, and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the buildings, and the planning and delivery of major restoration and modernization projects. In this capacity, the minister is also responsible for securing and controlling the budgets associated with this work.

Other key players in the precinct include the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Protective Services as clients, as well as the City of Ottawa and other federal organizations; including the National Capital Commission, Canadian Heritage and Parks Canada as stakeholders.

First approved in 2001, and subsequently updated in 2006, the Long Term Vision and Plan is a flexible framework guiding the government’s efforts to restore and modernize the parliamentary precinct, and to make it more accessible, sustainable and secure. It is delivered via rolling programs of work of 3 to 5 years that establish short term priorities, while establishing the long term direction of the program. These shorter increments also enable the government to respond more easily to risk and evolving parliamentary requirements. Programs of work comprise several concurrent projects of varying sizes and durations, including large scale heritage restorations, new construction projects, smaller fit-up and information-technology related works, as well as planning initiatives.

Significant progress has been made. Since the completion of the Library of Parliament in 2006, the department has delivered hundreds of projects, including the consecutive delivery of 24 key projects on time and budget. These include the Sir John A. Macdonald Building (2015), the Wellington Building (2016), the Senate of Canada Building in Ottawa’s former Union Station (2018), as well as the West Block and new Visitor Welcome Centre Phase 1 (2018). The completion of these projects enabled the transition of parliamentary operations from the Centre Block in 2018, so that work could begin on its historic restoration.

Current status

All major Long Term Vision and Plan projects continue to track on time and budget.

The Centre Block was successfully transferred from Parliament to Public Services and Procurement Canada and the construction manager in fall 2019. Investigative work is underway in order to fully define the project requirements, schedule and costs, which will be available in winter 2020. Over the course of fall and into winter 2020 major construction activities will begin, including interior demolition and abatement, and excavation of the front lawn in preparation of expanding the visitor welcome centre that will eventually link the West, Centre and East Blocks.

The Long Term Vision and Plan has, until recently, focused on creating the swing space needed to vacate the Centre Block and launch its historic rehabilitation. The department is now shifting from the building-by-building approach that has been essential to getting to the Centre Block, towards an integrated campus approach. The approach will support improved efficiency and functionality for a modern Parliament and Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council, through the redevelopment of Crown-owned assets in the 3 city blocks facing Parliament Hill, between Elgin and Bank Streets, and the adoption of a holistic and consistent approach for:

The transformation of the precinct into an integrated campus will begin with the redevelopment of the block bounded by Metcalfe and O’Connor Streets (referred to as block 2), which includes the construction of a new building to support the immediate and long term accommodations for Parliament and the transformation of the former US embassy located at 100 Wellington Street into a national space for Indigenous peoples. [Redacted]. A design competition for the project is expected to be launched in 2020 with construction to follow.

Future phases of the redevelopment will transform the remaining 2 blocks, including the restoration and modernization of the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council.

The approved program of work for the Long Term Vision and Plan will continue into the 2030s.

Indigenous Peoples’ space

Public Services and Procurement Canada is working with Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and the National Representative Organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, and the Algonquin Nation) to transform the 100 Wellington Street and adjacent sites (119 Sparks Street and the infill area in between those buildings) into a national space for Indigenous Peoples.


Ottawa’s 100 Wellington Street building is a classified heritage building located directly across from Parliament Hill. The building was constructed in 1931 to1932, and was occupied by the United States embassy until 1998, but has since remained vacant.

Following a nation-wide consultation in which over 7,000 participants were presented with options for the use of the building, it was announced that the building would be transformed into a national space for Indigenous Peoples. Public Services and Procurement Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and National Representative Organizations have been working together to advance the initiative.

The Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs is the lead for the relationship with the National Representative Organizations, who are leading the development of the vision for the space. The Minster for Public Services and Procurement is responsible for supporting Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and the National Representative Organizations through the planning, construction and delivery of the project.

100 Wellington and the adjacent areas are located in a city block facing Parliament Hill, bounded by Metcalf and O’Connor Streets (referred to as block 2). The property is therefore integral to Public Services and Procurement Canada’s plans for redeveloping the 3 city blocks facing Parliament Hill to support the long term accommodation requirements of Parliament and the Office of the Prime Minister, and the broader transformation of the precinct into an integrated campus that serves their needs. To achieve construction and design efficiencies, Public Services and Procurement Canada intends to rehabilitate the existing heritage building as an integrated element within the overall redevelopment of block 2. More information on block 2 is included in the briefing on the Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary.

Current status

At the request of National Representative Organizations, Public Services and Procurement Canada worked with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to develop a short-term use of the facility as an exposition, meeting and press space while the planning and development of its long-term permanent use is underway. Public Services and Procurement Canada delivered the short-term use as planned in June 2019. However, a lack of consensus between the National Representative Organizations and the Algonquin Nation on the long-term use of the facility has prevented it from opening.

The department will continue to work with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and National Representative Organizations in establishing a clear vision for the long term use of the space, which is intended to create an integral facility for Indigenous Peoples in the centre of the Parliamentary Precinct and make good use of the building, which has been vacant for nearly 2 decades.

Supporting federal science through collaboration

Federal science and technology research plays a key role in the Government of Canada. However, much of the existing infrastructure supporting this role is outdated. The department is working with federal science departments and agencies to implement an ambitious 25-year plan that will revitalize the Canadian science sector through collaboration.


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