Portoflio organizations: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—March 24, 2021
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Canada Post: Health and safety
Canada Post continues to provide a vital service to Canadians under difficult circumstances, with employees continuing to operate in the field delivering parcels, with the corporation doing everything possible to continue service while keeping the health and safety of its employees as its number one priority.
- Canada Post is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. It is taking steps to help keep employees and communities it serves safe, while closely following the guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
- Canada Post provides hand sanitizer for all customers and requires the use of face coverings by employees, contractors and visitors in all Canada Post facilities
- Canada Post is working with its unions, in order to ensure employees and the public are protected
If pressed on health and safety:
- Canada Post is taking action to protect employees and customers, including:
- enhanced cleaning in all of its facilities, extra safety supplies for employees and staggered shifts which minimize everyone arriving at work and having their breaks at the same time. This also allows for enhanced physical distancing in the workplace
- priority service at its retail post offices to those at a higher risk, such as seniors, during the first hour of each day
- installing signage and floor decals to encourage physical distancing, limiting the number of customers in smaller offices, and installing clear barriers at the counter to increase safety
- suspending its normal 15-day hold period and asking that customers who are ill or self-isolating delay their visit and pick up their parcel only when it’s safe to do so
- implemented a new process called “Knock, Drop and Go” to minimize contact with the delivery agent by eliminating signatures at the door
If pressed on mandatory face coverings for employees, contractors, visitors, and customers:
- on November 23, 2020, Canada Post implemented mandatory face coverings for employees and others in its facilities across Canada
- employees throughout the organization have been doing their best in difficult circumstances to keep one another safe
- widespread adoption of this critical preventative measure will help to protect people against the spread of COVID-19 and make all their workplaces as safe as possible. Even if provincial or local regulations do not require face coverings, Canada Post’s practice shall apply for its employees, contractors, visitors and customers across Canada
If pressed on Canada Post’s ability to deliver elections materials during a pandemic:
- as Canada Post told the Procedure and House Affairs Committee on December 3, it is working with Elections Canada and has the capacity to process mail volumes far exceeding the demands that are expected if a federal election is called
If pressed on the COVID-19 outbreak at the Gateway facility in Mississauga:
- proactive testing of employees began on January 19, and on January 22, Canada Post employees and contractors on shift 3 in Gateway East were instructed to leave the workplace and self-isolate for 14 days. These precautionary measures ended February 5
- mandatory testing began January 29 for all employees who work in the Gateway facility, including those who have already had a test, following direction from Peel Public Health
- mandatory testing concluded on February 6, with no new positive employee cases reported
- voluntary on-site testing is ongoing and shift 3 employees returned to work on February 7
- while operations are seeing progress on managing volumes, customers are being advised to expect delays with their parcels, especially international service, as Canada Post follows their contingency plans
- Canada Post’s plans include moving and redirecting some product to other processing plants in its national network, maintaining processing within Gateway and working with customers to manage their volumes
If pressed on the Ontario provincial inspections and the Gateway facility:
- Canada Post is a federally regulated Crown corporation and its inspections fall outside of provincial jurisdiction
- that being said, since the start of the pandemic, Canada Post has followed the guidance of local public health authorities to implement rigorous measures to keep its employees safe
- at all times, Peel Public Health has confirmed that Canada Post is able to maintain its operations
Canada Post has been experiencing “Christmas level” volumes during this pandemic. Canada Post has introduced several measures to encourage physical distancing and limit contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a “Knock, Drop and Go” approach for parcel delivery. This change eliminates the need for signatures at the door, speeds up delivery and has greatly reduced the number of parcels sent to post offices for pickup. Items that require signatures due to proof of age will be required to be picked up at the retail counter in a more controlled environment, where physical distancing can be accommodated. It has also suspended normal delivery guarantees for its parcel services as delivering safely without overburdening its employees requires more time.
Mandatory face covering for employees, contractors, visitors and customers across the country
Canada Post’s mandatory face covering practice makes it mandatory for employees, contractors, visitors and customers across Canada to wear a face covering in all Canada Post facilities. This requirement applies to, but is not limited to, plant floors, depots, retail outlets, docks and yards, and administrative sites. It also applies to Canada Post employees while working in other facilities, such as multi-unit residential buildings, stores, offices and their common areas, such as entrances, lobbies and hallways.
Even if provincial or local regulations do not require face coverings, Canada Post’s practice shall apply.
Canada Post expects all employees, contractors, visitors and customers to wear a face covering at all times in all Canada Post facilities across the country. The practice applies to all parts of the facilities, including but not limited to work centres, cubicles, cases, washrooms, hallways, entrances, stairwells and break rooms.
The exceptions are:
- persons who are the sole occupant of an enclosed vehicle
- persons who are the sole occupant of an enclosed office or room with a closed door
- persons consuming food or drink in an area designated for this purpose and where 2 metres physical distancing is maintained
- persons engaging in other activities that briefly require the temporary removal of a face covering and where 2 metres physical distancing is maintained (such as taking a drink of water)
- persons receiving alternate accommodations under the Canadian Human Rights Act based on an inability to wear a face covering
- persons under the age of 5
All Canada Post employees are responsible for complying with this practice. Failure to comply with the practice would be inconsistent with public health directives and a serious breach of company safety rules.
Employees who fail to comply with the mandatory face covering practice will face discipline up to and including dismissal from Canada Post. Contractors, visitors and customers who do not comply with the practice will not be permitted access to Canada Post facilities, but Canada Post will work with those who need accommodation on human rights grounds.
Canada Post Gateway facility statement, February 18
In total since the beginning of the year, just over 300 employees have tested positive at the Gateway facility in Mississauga, either through on-site testing or community testing. Over 85% of the positive cases at Gateway occurred over a 3-week period, beginning January 10. Working with Peel Public Health, employees and contractors on shift 3 (afternoon shift) were instructed on January 22 to self-isolate for 14 days until February 5. As well, thousands of mandatory onsite tests were completed from January 29 to February 6, with a total of 6 being positive. Three of those positives occurred on the first day (January 29).
Processing has now returned to normal at the Gateway facility in Mississauga, Ontario. Canada Post has been operating its full schedule since Sunday, February 7, when shift 3 employees at Gateway East safely returned to work.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada Post has advised customers that important safety measures in all facets of operations, combined with continued heavy parcel volumes, may result in delays. While Canada Post continues to strive for timely delivery, delivery guarantees were suspended last March due to the pandemic and remain suspended. As well, international items may experience delays due to international logistics limitations during the global response to the pandemic.
Canada Post continues to work closely with public health officials across the country and follow their direction to ensure it is taking the necessary precautions to keep its people and customers safe.
Customers can track their item and check the latest shipping status at canadapost.ca or using the mobile app.
Rehabilitation of National Capital Commission assets including 24 Sussex, Stornoway and Harrington Lake
The Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report, identified a requirement for a one-time injection of $83 million over 10 years to address the deferred maintenance deficit for all 6 official residences.
The numbers in the asset condition report represent recommended and projected investments based on 2017 asset values, not actual expenditures/commitments/planned spending by the National Capital Commission (NCC). The NCC is working to have this report refreshed to reflect 2020 values.
- The NCC is an independent Crown Corporation and is responsible for year-round maintenance and operations for the 6 official residences in Canada’s National Capital Region (NCR)
- The NCC recognizes the significance of the official residences and are committed to working with its partners to ensure that issues related to security, heritage preservation, sustainability, and accessibility are addressed
- The NCC is working with federal partners to develop a plan for the future of 24 Sussex to enable the government to make a prudent and informed decision
- Our goal is to ensure that all aspects of the rehabilitation are taken into consideration, including health and safety (such as removal of hazardous materials, including asbestos), security, functionality, accessibility, design excellence and heritage preservation
- The NCC is committed to full transparency and reports annually on capital expenditures incurred at the official residences
If pressed on Rideau Hall:
- all NCC projects that are planned or underway at an official residence are important to ensure its continued operation and to safeguard its national heritage
- as an independent Crown Corporation led by its board of directors, the NCC plans, initiates and implements the works and investments related to Rideau Hall
- the NCC works in close collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General to ensure the effective implementation of planned projects
If pressed on recent ATIP release by NCC regarding cost overruns on a bathroom fit-up project:
- this particular project ended up costing more than planned because additional work was required to address increased water damage and the existence of hazardous substances, which were only discovered after the project began
If pressed on Stornoway:
- in addition to the usual fit-up required for official residences between occupants, the NCC took advantage of the vacancy of Stornoway to complete some required life-cycle and maintenance work
If pressed on the NCC’s Asset Portfolio Condition Report:
- both the Government of Canada and the NCC recognize the importance of official residences of Canada, their heritage and cultural value
- that is why the NCC commissioned the 2018 report entitled Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report, detailing the investment required for the restoration of several of Canada’s official residences
- the NCC released this report in 2018 to remain transparent and open with both the Government of Canada and the Canadian public. The NCC is working to have this report refreshed to reflect 2020 values
- the NCC is committed to working with its partners to ensure that issues related to security, heritage preservation, sustainability, and accessibility are addressed
Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report
In 2017, the NCC commissioned in-depth building condition reports for the largest and most complex buildings in the official residences portfolio. These reports found that 58% of the assets in the official residences portfolio were considered to be in ‘poor’ to ‘critical’ condition, including half of the main official residences (24 Sussex and Harrington Lake main cottage are in critical condition while the farm is in poor condition). The report reflects an in-depth analysis of the official residences asset portfolio and highlights the shortfall in funding required to restore and maintain these heritage buildings.
The complete report, Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report, was endorsed by the NCC board of directors in April 2018 and publicly released in October 2018.
On October 16, 2018, the NCC released the Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report, which found that 24 Sussex Drive was in “critical” condition. The report identified a requirement for a one-time injection of $83 million over 10 years to address the deferred maintenance deficit for all 6 official residences, and a further $24.6 million annually for ongoing maintenance, repairs and renovations. The implementation of this 10-year recapitalization plan would also need to consider the investment required to ensure that the official residences meet universal accessibility and sustainability requirements, as well as escalation.
Over the last decade, the NCC has completed significant work at 24 Sussex including the rehabilitation of chimneys and fireplaces, fire compartmentalization, stabilization of the escarpment at the back and west sides of the property and the removal of hazardous materials, including asbestos, from the main building. However, it has not been able to proceed with the extensive rehabilitation of the residence and has been limited to completing work on the repairs relating to health and safety that were urgently required.
As 24 Sussex Drive has not seen significant investment in over 60 years, the additional work required would include the rehabilitation of the building envelope, mechanical and electrical systems, all buildings on the site would require extensive recapitalization and NCC would need prolonged access to the residence. The NCC is working with its federal partners to develop a plan for the future of 24 Sussex Drive and is ensuring that issues related to security, functionality, environmental sustainability, universal accessibility, design excellence and heritage preservation are taken into consideration in our preparations.
As part of its duties as steward of the official residences, the NCC is renewing various studies, including functional program options for the building, site surveys of the grounds, the main building and the 4 ancillary buildings, asbestos testing and other life cycle evaluations.
Since 1986 the buildings and grounds of Rideau Hall have been managed by the NCC, which is implementing a long-term rehabilitation project to ensure that the valuable heritage buildings on the estate remain in optimal condition.
The NCC assists the Office of the Secretary of the Governor General of Canada (OSGG) in delivering their program of work at Rideau Hall, recognizing that it is an official residence, a public destination, and a workplace for over 200 federal public servants, including employees of the OSGG and the NCC, the RCMP and other agencies.
The NCC does also complete projects on behalf of the OSGG in support of its programming at Rideau Hall. Some projects undertaken at Rideau Hall fall outside NCC’s scope to furnish, maintain and rehabilitate the property. These are commissioned and paid for by the OSGG, including the current feasibility study examining multimedia options for the ballroom and installing an access control gate in the Monck Wing.
All NCC projects that are planned or underway at Rideau Hall are communicated with the OSGG in order to ensure effective implementation.
Originally built in 1913 to 1914, Stornoway holds a “recognized” heritage designation. The main residence functions primarily as a private residence for the leader of the opposition and their family. It also hosts occasional official events. It is not open to the public. The property comprises 0.42 hectares of grounds, a main residence, and a garage.
Since 1988, development plans, supported by asset condition reports for both the building and grounds, have been completed and several upgrades have been made. There are a number of building systems that need to be replaced or upgraded (for example, plumbing, heating and cooling equipment), the presence of asbestos complicates any interior work, and aspects of the residence need to be renovated to permit universal accessibility. Overall, Stornoway was determined to be in good condition in the NCC’s 2018 Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report.
Transition periods between residents provide the NCC with an opportunity to complete required life-cycle work and maintenance that is unrelated to the previous or incoming resident. As such, the NCC is using the current transition period at Stornoway to complete required life-cycle maintenance and repairs, including work in the kitchen (new dishwasher, countertop and backsplash, replacing end-of-life wood flooring with ceramic), the basement (insulation, heating pipe repairs), bathrooms (plumbing repairs, replace exhaust fans), general décor (refresh paint and upholstery, replace mattresses), and some exterior repairs (repairs to rot in veranda and main entrance wood trim, gutter repairs, replace garage roof).
Additional investments are required to address major lifecycle updates such as universal accessibility studies and upgrades, electrical system replacements, and fire alarm system upgrades.
Canada Lands Company affordable housing initiatives
The Canada Lands Company (CLC) aims to realize, on average, a national target of 10% of residential units as affordable housing units within its development projects.
This target was recently added to CLC’s objectives (2017 to 2018). Prior to establishing the target, CLC complied with existing municipal objectives. CLC now promotes and pursues an affordable housing component in its projects both with municipalities and its partners.
CLC is confident in its ability to meet or exceed the overall target of 10% among its collective efforts across the country. Since 1995, CLC has enabled the creation of approximately 1,900 affordable housing units on its development projects.
Several factors and considerations, outlined below, impact the determination of the actual percentage and number of units of affordable housing on any given project. As a non-agent Crown corporation, CLC must conform to the planning, design and approval processes of each municipality where its projects are located across the country. Many municipalities set minimum requirements which are included in the official plans approved for development. Some projects will be over the 10% threshold and others may not reach it; thus, the company strives for 10% as an average objective. When determining affordable housing objectives for a specific site, municipalities and CLC must consider factors such as balancing housing needs with other community goals and the proximity to transportation and/or services that complement many forms of affordable housing.
Certain municipalities require 10% (and sometimes 15% or more) of units in their approval of a development plan, but others have no requirements for affordable housing (and in some cases may not actively support it). The effort on CLC’s part to ensure such product is included requires the support and approval of the local community and the municipal council. In most cases, the affordable housing sites are sold to municipal affordable housing agencies or not-for-profit affordable housing providers. In other instances, municipalities seek a payment in lieu of providing affordable housing for a specific project. The funds would then be used for affordable housing at other locations the municipality considers better suited, often for the reasons noted previously. This approach is acceptable to CLC if there is evidence the product being ‘funded’ will in fact be realized for affordable housing.
In addition to the affordable housing that CLC provides for in its project directly or via payments in lieu, CLC has been a significant contributor to federal affordable housing programs. CLC was one of the largest, if not the largest, purveyor of units through the former surplus federal real property for homelessness initiative. CLC has been a partner with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada from the inception of the federal lands initiative (within the Federal Housing Strategy). At present, CLC has provided 7 properties across the country for consideration by affordable housing components through this initiative. These lots or blocks are offered into the program at land value reflecting the intended affordable housing use. The 7 properties CLC has in the program today have a potential yield of 721 affordable housing units. The company will continue to assess and identify more sites for the federal lands initiative and has identified other potential opportunities through its corporate plan process.
Building LeBreton: Consultation and engagement
The National Capital Commission (NCC) launched building LeBreton in March 2019. Through this project, the NCC is seeking to create a complete community on LeBreton Flats, which is a 29-hectare site west of Centretown Ottawa. A preliminary version of the master concept plan for LeBreton Flats was approved by the NCC’s Board in January 2020, and a final version will be submitted for a board decision in April 2021.
The NCC is committed to early and continued engagement to shape and implement the plan. The development of the master concept plan has been a continuously collaborative process between the consulting team, the NCC and the City of Ottawa, relevant stakeholders and the public, whose input helped to refine the master concept plan into its current version.
Open house and online survey 1
In June and July 2019, the NCC held an open house and an online survey for the public to share ideas for the features and vision they wanted to see in the plan. Approximately 400 people participated in the open house and 2,089 replied to the survey shaping the plan to include these concepts:
- create a mixed-use, human-scale development
- public amenities, including public space, are key to creating community
- prioritize sustainability
- honour and connect to historical and cultural aspects of LeBreton Flats
- emphasize transit, cycling and pedestrian access, with limited private vehicle use
Open house and online survey 2
In November and December 2019, the NCC hosted a second open house and online survey to gather feedback about the draft plan. Approximately 400 people participated in the open house and 2,050 replied to the survey helping to refine design guidelines of the draft plan such as:
- locations of parks and trees, public space, institutional and retail uses, and integration to surrounding developments
- pedestrian and cyclist pathways, promotion of transit use, and universal accessibility
From January to February 2021, participants took part in an online public consultation on the proposed pathway through LeBreton Flats, creating connections between the Capital Pathway along the Ottawa River to Pimisi and Bayview O-Train stations. Feedback provided by participants will be considered by the NCC project team in the final design of the pathway.
In 2019 to 2020, the NCC hosted 4 focused roundtables, which were attended by approximately 100 stakeholders interested in the areas of:
- housing affordability
- arts, heritage and culture
Public Advisory Group
Inspired by discussions in the roundtables, the NCC has established a Public Advisory Group (PAG) for building LeBreton as part of its broader public engagement approach for the project. The PAG will help ensure that social, environmental and economic benefits are achieved throughout the project in a way that reflects community needs and aspirations.
The mandate of the PAG is to assist the NCC with the creation and subsequent implementation of the LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan by providing fair and balanced input in members’ areas of expertise, and by sharing information with their communities. The PAG members represent a cross-section of the LeBreton Flats community and interested organizations (for example, residents, community associations, Indigenous representatives, homebuilders, tourism, business, affordable housing, anti-poverty, sustainability, arts and culture, heritage, and community health).
Some community advocates and stakeholder groups are lobbying for a community benefits agreement (CBA) to guide the LeBreton Flats redevelopment project. A CBA is a legally binding agreement that ties social, economic and environmental conditions to each stage of a development project. The NCC believes that the Public Advisory Group, not a proposed CBA, is the right forum to guide public discussion on LeBreton Flats.
The NCC meets regularly with the chiefs representing the Algonquin First Nation in Quebec and Ontario to discuss significant topics, including the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats. Discussions with the Algonquin Nation about LeBreton Flats began under a preceding procurement process and have continued with the launch of building LeBreton in 2019. The NCC and the Algonquin Nation have collaborated on the development of an Indigenous engagement strategy and a contribution agreement, and the NCC will continue its tradition of relationship building and engagement with the Algonquin Nation in the context of the building LeBreton project.
Master concept plan
The final version of the LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan will be submitted for approval by the NCC Board of Directors in April 2021.
The request for qualifications (RFQ) process for the library parcel at LeBreton Flats closed in February 2021. The NCC intends to select a shortlist of up to 5 proponents to participate in the request for proposals (RFP). The RFP will be launched in May 2021 and will close in November 2021. The NCC and the City of Ottawa continue to work together to ensure alignment between their respective plans and priorities for LeBreton Flats.
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