Real property activities: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—November 16, 2020

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National Capital Region bridges


Budget 2019 provided funding for the replacement of the Alexandra Bridge, the rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge, and the Chaudière Crossing. It also provided direction for the refresh of technical studies on a potential 6th interprovincial crossing in the National Capital Region (NCR) and for the development of a Long-term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan.

Suggested response

If pressed on a sixth crossing:

If pressed on replacing the Alexandra Bridge:

If pressed on the program of work:

If pressed on the Long-term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan:


There are 5 interprovincial crossings in the NCR. PSPC manages and operates the Alexandra Bridge (built in 1900), Chaudière Crossing (portions built in 1828, and Union Bridge built in 1919) and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge (built in 1965). The NCC manages and operates the Champlain Bridge (built in 1928) and the Portage Bridge (built in 1973).

Transportation studies conducted over the last 10 years have consistently shown that the 5 existing crossings and connecting roadways are at full capacity during morning and evening peak travel times (average daily traffic on all crossings: 187,000 vehicles daily; 9,000 using active transportation). That being said, the Long Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan will take into consideration the impacts of COVID-19 on peak hour capacity requirements due to potential changes in working patterns.

Alexandra Bridge

A 2017 third-party life-cycle cost assessment concluded that replacing the 120-year-old Alexandra Bridge is the most cost-effective alternative, as it will have reached the end of its life span within the next 10 years. A recent structural evaluation of the bridge (completed in March 2020) revealed that due to the deterioration of several bridge members, load restrictions were required. Its replacement has become more critical after inspectors found an unexpected structural flaw, which forced the bridge’s closure from May 1 to 23 for emergency repairs. Other repair projects are planned and will be completed to ensure the bridge remains safe and accessible until its replacement.

Sixth crossing

Budget 2019 directed the NCC to “Address the demonstrated need for an additional NCR crossing by refreshing existing studies and developing a long-term integrated interprovincial crossing plan with both provincial governments and the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa.”

With regard to the first commitment, the NCC has completed a refresh of existing technical studies on 3 potential corridors: Kettle Island (corridor 5), Lower Duck Island (corridor 6), and McLaurin Bay (corridor 7). The scope of the refresh included the following 8 technical studies:

The purpose of the refresh was not to recommend a specific corridor. Any next steps on a potential sixth crossing project will depend on further planning activities and would leverage the results of the Long-term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan due to be completed in late 2021.

Long Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan

Budget 2019 also announced that the NCC would lead the development of a Long-term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan. The plan will propose a sustainable and integrated interprovincial mobility framework with a vision from now to 2050. In providing the way forward to achieve the vision and goals of the plan, the following areas will be addressed:


The study refresh on a potential sixth crossing has been completed while the Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossing Plan is expected to be completed in late 2021.

We are at the preliminary phase of the Alexandra Bridge replacement project which includes the development of a public engagement strategy and environmental studies and assessments, as required by the Impact Assessment Act.

St. Andrews Lock and Dam Bridge deck replacement project


Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has initiated a deck replacement project for the St. Andrews Lock and Dam bridge deck that will impact local traffic.

Suggested response

If pressed on consultations:


The St. Andrews Lock and Dam is in Lockport, Manitoba. It is 27 kilometres north of Winnipeg along the Red River.

The lock and dam was built in the early 20th century so that boats could navigate from Lake Winnipeg to the City of Winnipeg. It allows this by flooding the Lister Rapids between May and October.

PSPC operates and maintains the St. Andrews Lock and Dam. The facility consists of:

Bridge deck replacement project

This project will replace the part of the bridge that vehicles and pedestrians use.

The main span of the bridge was built in 1951. It is almost 70 years old. The last major project to restore and repair the bridge was in 1993. The bridge deck is at the end of its service life and must be replaced.

This bridge deck replacement project will address a number of issues. It will make the bridge easier to use, more durable and safer. The work includes:

The benefits of the project will include:

The deck replacement project will impact local traffic. We expect that at least 1 lane of traffic will be closed during construction. If PSPC needs to close the bridge completely, it will be planned for non-peak periods, such as after rush hour, and we will advise the public ahead of time.

Work is planned to start in spring or summer of 2021 and the project is expected to be completed in fall or winter of 2023.


In 2018, PSPC initiated contact with the province (highways), the rural municipalities of St Andrews and St Clements, the City of Selkirk, the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA), the Lockport Business Association, First Nations (Peguis, Brokenhead, Bloodvein) and a number of other stakeholders and advised them of its plans to initiate this project.

In May 2020, PSPC hosted a virtual meeting to update stakeholders on project progress. Designs were shared with stakeholders in order to inform them of how road widths would increase, the separation that would be created between vehicles and cyclists and pedestrians, and the increase in sidewalk width. A PSPC project manager provided updates and an overview of how the project is anticipated to be delivered (alternating traffic, traffic control, etc.). The meeting was attended by the MTA, local government council members, and a few stakeholders.

In August 2020, PSPC held another virtual stakeholder meeting in consultation with St. Clements, as it was felt that some of the business owners required additional information on the project. The same presentation given at the May 2020 meeting was given to stakeholders.

PSPC has gained meaningful feedback through these engagement sessions. PSPC also received a letter from the Lockport Community Development Group highlighting some of their concerns regarding the project. The departmental officials are currently assessing how we can mitigate some of the issues raised throughout the engagement sessions and highlighted in the letter from the business community.

A key concern was the impact on local traffic. The department is engaging with individual stakeholders on this topic.

Federal building occupants with confirmed cases of COVID-19


A large proportion of the public service has transitioned to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government offices remain open and many clients’ preparations for eventual return to the workplace are underway, guided by regional public health agencies. However, with Canada entering the second wave of the COVID-19 virus and confirmed cases increasing across the country, there may be a heightened concern about how confirmed cases are being communicated to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) building occupants.


Questions on employees returning to the workplace should be responded to by the president of the Treasury Board, as the employer.

Suggested response

If pressed on confirmed cases in PSPC buildings:

If pressed on notifying employees of confirmed cases of COVID-19:


Next steps

The department continues its engagement with central agencies, clients and our bargaining agents to collaborate on guidance. PSPC will also continue to advance procedures to ensure healthy and productive work environments for the easing of restrictions and planning a safe return to the workplace in our buildings as guidance evolves.

PSPC will continue to reinforce reporting protocols for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases with service providers and clients to ensure a consistent national approach and understanding.

PSPC will continue to track building readiness measures nationwide and take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate building readiness protocols for instilling greater confidence and reducing uncertainties within our client community.

With the rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country and public health authorities confirming the second wave of the virus, PSPC continues to work diligently with its service providers, landlords, health authorities, clients and industry to ensure protocols for reporting of confirmed cases and specialized cleaning requests are dealt with rapidly.

Rehabilitation of the Supreme Court of Canada, the West Memorial buildings and 100 Wellington


From 2019 to 2023, the West Memorial Building (WMB) will undergo rehabilitation in order to meet the standards of the National Building Code of Canada.

Once rehabilitation is complete, the WMB will temporarily accommodate occupants of the Supreme Court of Canada Building (SCCB) from 2023 to 2028, as the SCCB undergoes its own rehabilitation.

The prime minister announced on June 21, 2017—National Indigenous Peoples Day—that 100 Wellington Street would become a national space for Indigenous Peoples. The project also includes the re-development of the former CIBC building located at 119 Sparks Street and an infill space between the 2 buildings.

Suggested response

If pressed on current building conditions:

If pressed on 100 Wellington:

If pressed on Indigenous involvement in the precinct:


The WMB has been vacant since 2008 and requires major rehabilitation in order to meet the standards of the National Building Code of Canada. Work began in fall 2019 and will include upgrades to meet current building standards for sustainability, health and safety, and accessibility, while at the same time conserving its heritage character.

The selection of the WMB for rehabilitation makes sense as it will allow a vacant classified federal heritage building, within the downtown Ottawa area to return to the active federal real estate portfolio.

From 2019 to 2023, the WMB will undergo its rehabilitation. It will serve as an interim space for occupants of the SCCB from 2023 to 2028. The SCCB rehabilitation will take place from 2023 to 2028 once the occupants have moved into the WMB.

The contract award to EllisDon Corporation for construction management services was announced on October 26, 2018, and the contract to Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. for design and architectural services was announced on February 23, 2018, for the WMB rehabilitation project.

Demolition started in October 2019 around the site. A City of Ottawa permit was received and construction started in April 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic situation has had minimal impact on the project schedule.

100 Wellington

As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to renew relationships with Indigenous Peoples and advance reconciliation, the prime minister announced on June 21, 2017 —National Indigenous Peoples Day— that 100 Wellington Street would become a national space for Indigenous Peoples. The project also includes the re-development of the former CIBC building located at 119 Sparks Street and an infill space between the 2 buildings.

In June 2019, while planning continued on the long-term development, a short-term use project at 100 Wellington was completed by PSPC that was co-developed with the National Indigenous Organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council), the Algonquin, CIRNA and PSPC. However, the space did not open as planned due to a lack of consensus amongst the National Indigenous Organizations on governance, and a request by the Algonquin Nation (represented by the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council (AANTC)) for equal and full partnership

Rent relief measures for commercial tenants in the PSPC portfolio


Public Services Procurement Canada (PSPC) has put in place measures to alleviate financial pressure on its commercial tenants during a period of low-building occupancy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suggested response


Given the health and safety measures put in place to contain COVID-19, buildings under PSPC’s management are largely empty. As a result, commercial tenants may have experienced reductions in their business volumes.

In line with guidance from the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) on rent relief to external tenants, PSPC took steps to allow tenants to defer their rent payments for a 6-month period effective April 1, 2020. This applied to businesses whose income had been affected by the COVID-19 containment measures. To date, rent deferrals were sought by 162 tenants (64% of tenants) for a total of $4.8 million for the 6-month period.

In addition, 106 tenants (58% of potentially eligible tenants) benefited from the CECRA 75% rent reduction for a total of $1.8 million. The CECRA Program terminated on September 30, 2020.

On October 9, 2020, the government announced the new Canada-Revenue-Agency-administered Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Program, which replaces the CECRA Program and will provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rent subsidy will be provided directly to tenants affected, while providing support to property owners.

The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities and non-profit organizations that have suffered a revenue drop by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses and top-up of up to 25% for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65% subsidy.

Encampment at the National War Memorial


In July 2020, several individuals associated with an organization known as The Canadian Revolution began a protest at the National War Memorial site, erecting several tents and numerous signs. On October 17, 2020, after a failure to leave the premises following official notification, and with the assistance of the Ottawa Police Service, the encampment on the National War Memorial site was removed.

Suggested response

If pressed on what will be done if occupants/campers return:

If pressed on vandalism of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

If pressed on increased security in the Parliamentary Precinct:

If pressed on Remembrance Day:


A group of demonstrators set up tents at the National War Memorial on July 2, to bring attention to their cause. Although their presence attracted very little media attention over the summer, an incident with a Radio-Canada journalist on Thursday, September 24, and another one with New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh on Friday, September 25, attracted attention.

On October 15, individuals in the encampment were officially notified through a written notice on the site that they must leave the premises.

Campers on the eastern part of the site, who were not associated with the protest encampment, were offered social services support and left after initial notice was provided.

On October 17, 2020, after occupants/campers failed to leave the encampment, and with the assistance of the Ottawa Police Service, the encampment on the National War Memorial site was removed.

The encampment was vacated and dismantled in an orderly manner and PSPC arranged for the removal, cataloguing and storage of any personal property left behind. Information on how to arrange for the retrieval of items has been provided.

Next steps

On Friday October 16, 2020 it was noted that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier had been vandalized. At this time there is no evidence that the vandalism was carried out by the previous occupants/campers at National War Memorial encampment. Repairs to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were completed on October 17. The investigation of this incident is ongoing by the Ottawa Police Service.

Tunney’s Daycare Centre closure


In mid-October, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) received a notification that the Tunney’s Daycare Centre would cease its operations due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related costs.

Suggested response


Specific to Tunney’s Pasture Daycare Centre

For all commercial tenants including daycare

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