Portfolio organizations: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—June 2, 2021
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Canada Post Corporation 2020 Annual Report
On April 30, 2021, Canada Post Corporation released its 2020 financial results and recorded a loss before tax of $779M.
- Canada Post has a long-standing mandate to serve all Canadians while remaining financially self-sufficient
- Fulfilling this dual mandate is a challenge that the company is addressing, as it invests and evolves to meet the changing needs and expectations of Canadians
If pressed on the $779M recorded loss before taxes (for the Canada Post segment), COVID-19 impact on Canada Post segment:
- the costs related to COVID-19 are estimated at $292M. A significant portion of this was due to special leaves put in place to support higher-risk employees and those providing child and elder care, as well as increased overtime expenses
- there were also additional costs to keep people safe, which included redesigning work centres to maintain physical distancing in facilities that were never meant to keep people 2 metres apart
- the corporation also incurred additional collection, processing and delivery costs due to increasing parcel volumes
- significant revenue declines of $230M in transaction mail and $257M in direct marketing, compared to 2019, occurred as marketers cancelled or delayed mailings due to COVID-19 and mailers increasingly turned to digital alternatives
- it is estimated that $382M of that $487M decline in transaction mail and direct marketing revenue is due to COVID-19
- total parcels revenue grew by $699M compared to 2019. It is estimated that $471M of that increase is due to COVID-19
- the net negative impact of COVID-19 was $194M
If pressed on the pension solvency deficit:
- Canada Post Corporation intends to continue reducing its solvency special payments in 2021, subject to the maximum reduction amount permitted under the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations
Canada Post segment posts $779M loss for 2020
Significant mail declines and high COVID-19 related costs surpassed record growth in parcels business.
Ottawa—Canada Post recorded a loss before tax of $779M in 2020, even while delivering record-high domestic parcels volumes. The postal service had reported a year-to-date $709M loss before tax in the third quarter of 2020.
Costs related to COVID-19 are estimated at $292M. A significant portion of this was due to special leaves put in place to support higher-risk employees and those providing child and elder care, as well as increased overtime expenses. The company also incurred additional collection, processing and delivery costs due to increasing parcel volumes. There were also additional costs to keep people safe, which included redesigning work centres to maintain physical distancing in facilities that were never meant to keep people 2 metres apart. Significant revenue declines of $230M in transaction mail and $257M in direct marketing, compared to 2019, occurred as marketers cancelled or delayed mailings due to COVID-19 and mailers increasingly turned to digital alternatives. It is estimated that $382M of that $487M decline in transaction mail and direct marketing revenue is due to COVID-19.The net negative impact of COVID-19 was $194M, when factoring in the growth of parcels revenue.
There were other factors apart from COVID-19’s impact. For one, it costs significantly more to process and deliver parcels than it does letters. Canada Post also incurred an additional $127M in costs stemming from the June 2020 arbitrator’s ruling that resulted in new collective agreements with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). The segment would have still incurred a loss without the impact of COVID-19 and the new collective agreements with CUPW.
With its strong cash position, Canada Post is able to make significant investments in capacity and service. These are needed in response to the accelerated growth in online shopping that began during the pandemic and is widely expected to have a sustained impact on demand for parcel delivery.
Canada Post’s parcels business experienced record growth in 2020 as Canadians shopped online far more often during COVID-19. With Canadians’ accelerated adoption of online shopping, Canada Post set several records, including most parcels delivered on a single day (2.4 million on December 21) and the most consecutive days of delivering 1 million or more parcels (181 consecutive delivery days from mid-April to the end of the year).
Total parcels revenue grew by $699M, or 25.0%, compared to 2019. It is estimated that $471M of that increase is due to COVID-19. Total volumes grew by 69 million pieces or 21.0% in 2020, compared to 2019. Domestic parcels revenue increased by $613M or 29.1%, while domestic volumes increased by 70 million pieces or 30.9%, compared to 2019. Inbound parcels volumes declined slightly, in part due to fewer flights from Europe and China during COVID-19.
Transaction mail results
Transaction mail is mostly letters, bills and statements. Ongoing revenue and volume declines accelerated as businesses and Canadians used digital alternatives even more during COVID-19. In 2020, transaction mail volumes fell by 286 million pieces or 10.5% and revenue fell by $230M or 8.9%, compared to 2019. Of that decline, $146 million is estimated to be due to accelerated volume erosion due to COVID-19.
Direct marketing results
Customers delayed or cancelled many marketing campaigns during the pandemic, adding to the impact of an ongoing move to digital channels. In 2020, direct marketing revenue declined by $257M or 24.3%. An estimated $236M of that decline is attributed to COVID-19. Direct marketing volumes fell by 1.3 billion pieces or 27.7%, compared to 2019.
Group of Companies results
The Canada Post Group of Companies (such as, core Canada Post segment and its 3 non-wholly owned subsidiaries, Purolator Holdings Ltd., SCI Group Inc. and Innovapost Inc.) reported a loss before tax of $626M in 2020, compared to a loss before tax of $23M in 2019. An estimated $174M of this loss is due to the impact of COVID-19. The Group of Companies’ 2020 results are due to a loss in the Canada Post segment, which was partially offset by Purolator’s profit.
The Purolator segment recorded a profit before tax of $176M in 2020, compared to a profit before tax of $152M in 2019, an increase of 15.4%.
The operations of the Canada Post Group of Companies are funded by the revenue generated by the sale of its products and services, not taxpayer dollars.
Pension solvency deficit
The Pension Plan is healthy on a going concern basis meaning there are enough assets in the plan to fund obligations on an ongoing basis. On a solvency basis, the plan is in a deficit meaning that if Canada Post were to stop operating and all benefits needed to be paid out immediately, there would not be enough assets to pay 100% of the pension benefits. Current federal regulations require that Canada Post make special payments into the plan to gradually eliminate this deficit; however, solvency relief is available up to 15% of a plan’s solvency liabilities. The corporation is currently utilizing this relief. Beyond the relief level, the corporation may require incremental borrowing or additional pension relief as these payments pose a risk to its cash flow in coming years. Market volatility has a significant effect on these payments. The corporation is in the process of securing temporary relief from making future payments.
While we can chose to reduce the pension funding deficit with the current cash on hand, it is crucial for Canada Post to invest in strategic initiatives and transformation to ensure long term financial profitability and sustainability. A financially healthy corporation will mean a healthy pension plan in the long term.
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 taking action to protect the health and safety of customers and employees in line with guidance of public health authorities
- Canada Post provides hand sanitizer for all customers and requires the use of face coverings by employees, contractors, customers and visitors in all Canada Post facilities
- Canada Post continues to reinforce rigourous safety protocols with all employees
- In addition, Canada Post is undertaking screening tests in various locations, supported by 100,000 rapid tests provided by the government
- As well, all Canada Post employees have paid sick leave as per their respective collective agreements
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
- door signage and floor decals have been installed at all post offices to encourage physical distancing, limiting the number of customers within each office, and installing clear barriers at the counter to increase safety
- post offices are regularly supplied with hand sanitizer for staff andf customers, and staff are also provided disposable gloves, face coverings, and sanitizing wipes and spray
- 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:
- 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
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 Ontario provincial inspections and the Gateway facility:
- Canada Post is a federally regulated Crown corporation and as such is subject to inspections by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)—Labour Canada
- 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
If pressed on the shift 3 outbreak at the Toronto Exchange Office (at the Gateway facility):
- Canada Post informed employees on Tuesday, April 27, that Peel Public Health had directed that approximately 80 employees from shift 3 (the afternoon shift) in the Toronto Exchange Office at the Gateway facility leave the workplace and self-isolate for 10 days which ended May 7, 2021 when they will return to work
- in the previous 7 days, 12 employees who work in the location had tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in Peel Public Health’s declaration of an outbreak
- Canada Post continues to work closely with Peel Public Health as cases have risen in the community and are in regular contact
- Canada Post also continues to provide voluntary onsite rapid COVID-19 testing to all employees and contractors at the Gateway facility. Any employees who test positive must leave the workplace and self-isolate. In each case, Public Health is notified, and employees and the union are informed. Substantial paid leave provisions are in place to support employees having to isolate at home
- Canada Post will continue to reinforce its safety protocols with all employees, including enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures, and follow any direction they receive from Peel Public Health
- contingency plans are also being implemented to minimize customer impacts
- Canada Post has implemented segregated work shifts to prevent cross-contamination between shifts
- Canada Post has implemented a voluntary rapid testing program at this facility
If pressed on the retirement party at the Gateway plant:
- Canada Post is aware that a brief gathering was held for a retiring colleague in Gateway West in early April
- Canada Post does not allow gatherings within the facility for any reason. This was an unfortunate and isolated incident
- Canada Post takes this matter seriously and has talked directly to those involved and has also reminded all employees at the facility of the importance of following safety rules
If pressed on the South Central Letter Processing Plant (SCLPP) at 969 Eastern Avenue in Toronto:
- when an employee tests positive, Canada Post follows a process, which includes informing employees, supporting public health and sanitization measures
- I have been reassured by Canada Post that it works closely with local public health units and share information with employees and their unions as quickly as possible
- in this situation, rapid testing was put in place for employees at the facility as soon as they arrived at work the day after the positive test, in addition to the existing safety measures
If pressed on the vaccination clinic planned for Gateway and a mobile vaccination clinic scheduled in Toronto:
- Canada Post is preparing to operate an on-site vaccine clinic at the Gateway facility in Mississauga thanks to a collaborative effort with Peel Region Public Health Authority and the Province of Ontario
- through this initiative, they expect their front-line employees and contractors to have the opportunity to receive vaccinations on-site at the Dixie Road facility as early as Friday, May 21
- the clinics will be operated 7 days a week by an experienced third-party health services provider, under the direction of Peel Public Health
- Canada Post has notified their employees and bargaining agents, and they will be working together to encourage those who have not already received a COVID-19 vaccine to sign up. Their employees will be able to start signing up soon, and their participation in the clinics will be voluntary
- as part of this initiative, Canada Post will also provide access to the clinic to the broader community following the employee clinic
- in addition, Canada Post is working with Toronto Public Health and the Ontario Ministry of Health to offer a mobile vaccination clinic on May 18 and 19 at the York Delivery Centre (1860 Midland Avenue). This voluntary clinic is coordinated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and will provide vaccinations to Canada Post employees who work at designated facilities in the area, including their large depot located at 280 Progress Avenue
- Canada Post has continued to work closely with its bargaining agents and public health officials to take measures to keep employees safe during the pandemic. From physical distancing, to mandatory masks to rapid testing, they continue to evolve their approach following the direction from public health
If pressed on the outbreak in Montreal at Léo Blanchette:
- the Léo-Blanchette mail processing plant in Montreal has over 3,000 employees, and just over 30 employees have tested positive over the past 2 weeks
- in each case, the Direction Régionale de Santé Publique de Montreal was informed, and Canada Post continues to work closely with them
- Canada Post is providing voluntary onsite rapid COVID-19 testing to all employees and contractors at this facility as of Tuesday, April 13. Any employees who test positive will leave the workplace and self-isolate
- Canada Post has paid leave provisions in place to support employees
If pressed on the employee testing positive in Halifax:
- Canada Post was informed late Wednesday, April 21, that one of its employees at the Halifax mail processing plant on Almon Street had tested positive for COVID-19
- mail delivery was suspended there on April 22 for the day, but Canada Post is putting contingency plans in place to minimize the impact on delivery services to its customers as service is restored
- Canada Post understands that operating during COVID-19 can cause concerns for its employees. That's why, since the beginning, it has committed to closely following the advice of public health officials at the national and local level in order to keep employees and the people they serve safe
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 for many items, 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 or as directed within the Canada Post Corporation Act (registered mail or Xpresspost certified) 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 compliant with Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) standards, 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.
May 13, 2021: Canada Post statement on the on-site vaccination clinic planned for Gateway and a mobile vaccination clinic scheduled in Toronto
Canada Post is preparing to operate an on-site vaccine clinic at the Gateway facility in Mississauga thanks to a collaborative effort with Peel Region Public Health Authority and the Province of Ontario.
Through this initiative, we expect Canada Post front-line employees and contractors to have the opportunity to receive vaccinations on-site at the Dixie Road facility as early as Friday, May 21. The clinics will be operated 7 days a week by an experienced third-party health services provider, under the direction of Peel Public Health.
We have notified employees and our bargaining agents, and we will be working together to encourage those who have not already received a COVID-19 vaccine to sign up. Employees will be able to start signing up soon, once operational details are finalized. Participation in the clinics will be voluntary.
As part of this initiative, Canada Post will also provide access to the clinic to the broader community following the employee clinic. Details will be shared once they are finalized.
In addition, Canada Post is working with Toronto Public Health and the Ontario Ministry of Health to offer a mobile vaccination clinic on May 18 and 19 at the York Delivery Centre (1860 Midland Avenue). This voluntary clinic is coordinated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and will provide vaccinations to Canada Post employees who work at designated facilities in the area, including our large depot located at 280 Progress Avenue.
Canada Post has continued to work closely with its bargaining agents and public health officials to take measures to keep employees safe during the pandemic. From physical distancing, to mandatory masks to rapid testing, we continue to evolve our approach following the direction from public health.
Rehabilitation of National Capital Commission assets including 24 Sussex, Rideau Hall, and Stornoway
The Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report, identified required rehabilitation work required to address the deferred maintenance 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
- The NCC is developing a vision and planning framework that will demonstrate responsible stewardship of these significant national assets for the current and future benefit of all Canadians, and is 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 (for example, 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 an Access to Information and Privacy release by the 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 required rehabilitation work to address the deferred maintenance for all 6 official residences, and for ongoing maintenance, repairs and renovations. The implementation of an eventual plan in the future 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 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other agencies.
The NCC also completes 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 (see pages 44 to 49).
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 added to CLC’s objectives in 2018. Prior to establishing the target, CLC took the approach to comply with existing municipal objectives. CLC now actively promotes and pursues an affordable housing component in all of its residential projects.
CLC is confident in its ability to meet or exceed the overall target of 10% affordable housing units within its projects across the country. Since 1995, CLC has enabled the creation of approximately 1,900 affordable housing units.
Several factors impact the determination of the actual percentage and number of units of affordable housing in any given project. As a non-agent Crown corporation, CLC must conform to the planning, design and approval processes of each municipality in which its projects are located. Many municipalities set minimum requirements which are included in approved development plans. Some projects will achieve more than 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 affordable housing.
Certain municipalities require 10% or more units in development plans, 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 within a 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 that the contribution will be used for affordable housing.
In addition to the affordable housing that CLC provides for in its projects directly or via payments in lieu, CLC has been a significant contributor to federal affordable housing programs. CLC has been 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 National Housing Strategy).
At present, CLC has provided 7 properties across the country for new affordable housing 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 delivered into the program today are in various stages of development and 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 indicated other potential opportunities through its corporate plan process.
Building LeBreton: Consultation and engagement
The National Capital Commission 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 final version of the master concept plan for LeBreton Flats was approved by the NCC’s board on April 22, 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 and construction 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.
The NCC plans to build a pathway through LeBreton Flats in 2021. It will connect the Capital Pathway along the Ottawa River to the Pimisi and Bayview O-Train stations at LeBreton Flats. The creation of this pathway is part of the new LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan, which was approved by the board of directors in April 2021. Specifically, it is the first element of the plan’s mobility, and parks and public realm strategies that will be implemented. The draft design concept for the pathway was presented publicly in early 2021. It is anticipated that design work will be completed in spring 2021, followed by construction in the summer and fall 2021, and opening of the pathway to the public in the late fall 2021.
The request for qualifications (RFQ) process for the library parcel at 665 Albert Street in LeBreton Flats closed in February 2021. Of 5 proposals submitted in early February and evaluated in accordance with the criteria outlined in the NCC’s request for qualifications, 3 shortlisted proponents will be invited to participate in the second stage of the procurement process, the request for proposals (RFP). In alphabetical order, the 3 shortlisted proponents are as follows:
- Dream LeBreton
- One Planet Living LeBreton
- Team Central
The RFP will be launched in May 2021 and will close in August 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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