Modernization of parliament (Parliament Precinct): Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—March 4, 2022
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Status of the Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary Precinct
- In partnership with parliament, we are restoring the Parliamentary Precinct for future generations of Canadians, and making it modern, safer, greener and more accessible
- Our focus is on restoring the Centre Block and transforming the Parliamentary Precinct into an integrated parliamentary campus
The Centre Block rehabilitation program
- The Centre Block is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation ever undertaken in Canada
- To ensure this heritage masterpiece can serve Canadians for another century, it needs to be taken apart carefully and rebuilt to integrate modern standards including a reinforced structure, seismic upgrading, and new building and digital systems
- The restored Centre Block will be more accessible and secure through the addition of a Parliament Welcome Centre. The Centre Block will also be transformed from one of the government’s highest energy users and greenhouse gas-emitting buildings into a carbon neutral facility
Parliamentary engagement, governance and Senate decisions
- My department is working hand in hand with parliament to deliver the Long Term Vision and Plan
- As part of this collaborative process, each House of Parliament establishes project requirements and priorities to support their parliamentary operations
- My mandate is to work with each House of Parliament to ensure that parliamentary requirements are being met in a manner that preserves our heritage and ensures value for money
- Publics Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) continues to work collaboratively with the Senate to meet their needs in a cost efficient manner that respects our heritage buildings
- Safety and security is the top priority for Public Services and Procurement Canada
- PSPC worked closely with parliamentary, federal and municipal partners to protect our national monuments and buildings, and provide logistical support during the protests in Ottawa
- Working with the partners in parliament, after a 2 week pause in construction, we were able to safely resume operations on the Centre Block construction site on February 14
Block 2 redevelopment
- My department, in partnership with parliament, is leading a design competition to transform 3 city blocks of aging and underutilized buildings, into an integrated and sustainable facility to support the needs of a 21st century Parliament
- An independent jury assembled by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, comprised of design professionals, members of academia, civil society and parliamentarians, will select the 3 best designs
Indigenous peoples space
- Public Services and Procurement Canada continues to support Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Algonquin Nation and the National Indigenous Organizations in developing a national space for Indigenous Peoples’ in the Parliamentary Precinct
Key data points
- Approximately $4.2 billion has been invested into the Parliamentary Precinct to date
- This investment has created over 50,000 jobs with approximately 4,000 of those jobs attributed to the Centre Block rehabilitation project
- The Centre Block rehabilitation is expected to create 70,000 jobs in the engineering, construction, architecture and interior design, masonry, and restoration sectors, providing economic benefits for Canadians
- Currently, there are 400 workers on site daily, which is expected to increase to 1,500 at the project’s peak
- Over 500 companies from across Canada are already working on the Centre Block rehabilitation project and 50 initial internships have been created from 10 Canadian colleges and universities to date
- The ongoing restoration and modernization work has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct by 66% from 2005 levels, and we are on track for reductions of 95% by 2040
The Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) was first approved in 2001 for the restoration and modernization of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct. All major projects continue to track on time and budget.
With a goal of reaching of 5% of procurement with Indigenous businesses, Public Services and Procurement Canada has established agreements with organizations such as the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, and others, to assist with fulfilling that target as it pertains to the Parliamentary Precinct.
The restored West Block and Senate of Canada Building and the new Parliament Welcome Centre, were transferred to parliament in fall 2018. Efforts are now focused on restoring and modernizing Centre Block and transforming the Precinct into an integrated parliamentary campus that addresses parliament’s long-term requirements, including material handling, the movement of people and goods, accessibility, sustainability, and security.
Centre Block rehabilitation project
The Centre Block work is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation ever undertaken in Canada. Work is well underway including careful demolition work on certain components and the abatement of hazardous materials inside the Centre Block, as well as excavation work for the Parliament Welcome Centre. The interior demolition and exterior excavation work is nearly 65% completed. Design work is also well advanced, with the final schematic design submission to the authorities scheduled for April 2022.
Block 2 redevelopment
PSPC is redeveloping the 3 city blocks (Blocks 1, 2 and 3) facing Parliament Hill to establish a modern integrated campus. The redesigned block will provide office space for the Senate and the House of Commons and will allow for the future consolidation of parliamentary accommodations, including space for the Library of Parliament. The decade-long transformation will begin with block 2 and is a key priority of the LTVP.
In May 2021, PSPC launched an international design competition for the site. In fall 2021, an independent jury selected 6 out of 12 prequalified teams to move onto the next phase of the international design competition for the redevelopment of block 2. These teams will present their advanced design and the jury will select a first, second, and third place winner. The design competition is expected to be completed in 2022.
Indigenous peoples space at 100 Wellington
As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to renew relationships with Indigenous peoples and advance reconciliation, in 2017 the Prime Minister announced that 100 Wellington street (the former United States Embassy) would be transformed into 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. These are both federally designated heritage buildings.
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) is the project lead on the development of the space. PSPC will continue to support CIRNA as it works with the Algonquin Nation and the National Indigenous organizations to develop this national space for Indigenous peoples in the Parliamentary Precinct.
Advancing accessibility and sustainability
PSPC is committed to making the Parliamentary Precinct a model for universal accessibility excellence. It will achieve, and in some cases exceed, accessibility standards. The West Block and Senate of Canada Building include barrier-free access and improved accessibility features in the chambers, public galleries, offices, meeting places, washrooms and corridors. The LTVP is reducing the government’s carbon footprint. PSPC has reduced greenhouse gas levels in the Precinct by 66% from 2005 levels and is on track for reductions of 80% by 2030 and 95% by 2040, while also currently diverting more than 90% of demolition materials from landfills.
Parliamentary budget officer studies Centre Block rehabilitation project
- In August 2021, the parliamentary budget officer requested a cost breakdown from Public Services and Procurement Canada of 3 Senate requirements for Parliament’s Centre Block rehabilitation project
- Because of concerns about costs, space limitations, and heritage impact, these 3 requirements had been excluded from a previous cost estimate provided to parliament
- My department responded by providing additional supporting information prepared by independent consultant Turner & Townsend: a cost analysis report, a supporting financial workbook with additional costing details, an explanation of the costing methodology, and contextual documents previously provided to parliament
Key data points
- In June 2021 PSPC released the baseline cost, scope, and anticipated timelines for completing the project
- Current cost estimate is between $4.5 billion and $5 billion
- The 3 Senate requirements of concern total approximately $100 million
The Centre Block rehabilitation project is part of the Long Term Vision and Plan—a strategy for the complete restoration and modernization of the Parliamentary Precinct. Public Services and Procurement Canada has been working with its partners in parliament, including the Senate and House of Commons, to develop a functional program for the existing Centre Block and the new Parliament Welcome Centre. This program considers opportunities for accommodating functions in the broader campus, since space within the existing building and the new Parliament Welcome Centre is limited.
PSPC is committed to meeting parliament’s requirements and to working in partnership to assess how these requirements can best be satisfied. PSPC officials continue to work with the Senate administration to develop and assess options on how best to meet Senate requirements within the Parliamentary Precinct. During the collaborative planning process for the Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre, PSPC officials raised concerns that all of the scope elements brought forward by the parliamentary entities could not be achieved within the available space. Impacts to the preservation of the building’s heritage fabric and cost effectiveness were also raised as concerns.
In May 2021, Minister Anand wrote to the speakers of the Senate and House of Commons, as well as the chair of the Senate Standing Committee of Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, to request that the Senate and House of Commons review their functional requirements. This letter also advised that the 3 Senate requirements that became the subject of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) request and which total approximately $100 million, would be initially excluded from the program scope and cost estimate due to the need to balance the requirements of parliament with space, heritage and cost considerations.
PBO wrote to PSPC on August 5, 2021, to request a cost breakdown of the 3 Senate requirements for parliament’s Centre Block rehabilitation project in question:
- partial infill of the Centre Block’s east courtyard to provide 6 additional offices for senators (increase of 3 compared to Senate allocation at time of Centre Block’s closure)
- 3 committee rooms in the Parliament Welcome Centre, in addition to 3 in the Centre Block, for total of 6 (increase of 3 compared to Senate allocation at time of Centre Block’s closure)
- dedicated Senate business entrance on the east end of the new Parliament Welcome Centre
PSPC has leveraged independent experts such as Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton and Price Waterhouse Cooper; they provided certified clean financial audits for the construction management contracts for the West Block, Wellington and Sir John A. Macdonald projects. This information was sent to the PBO in response to their request.
This costing methodology used for Parliamentary Precinct projects, including the management of risks and contingencies, has been recognized by independent parties. The Auditor General of Canada found in 2010 that sound project management practices were in place for the rehabilitation of the Parliament buildings, and that the department had in place a costing methodology for developing estimates based on lessons learned from other projects.
Rehabilitation of the Supreme Court of Canada and the West Memorial Building
- More than $1 billion is being invested in the rehabilitation of the Supreme Court of Canada and West Memorial Building (WMB)
- When completed, these buildings will provide modernized workplaces that are safe, secure, accessible and environmentally sustainable, while conserving their heritage value
- These projects will create jobs by creating employment opportunities for Canadians in construction, manufacturing, and professional services
- All measures to ensure the continuous delivery of operations in the Supreme Court of Canada Building are in place, including the monitoring of key building components and pursuing urgent repair and maintenance
- PSPC has been working with the construction manager to hire Indigenous firms and staff during the West Memorial Building construction phase. The Supreme Court of Canada Building rehabilitation project will also include Indigenous participation, through upcoming tendering processes in the fields of architecture, engineering, construction and support services
Key data points
- The WMB will serve as an interim accommodation for occupants of the Supreme Court of Canada Building (SCCB) from 2024 to 2032, while the SCCB rehabilitation takes place
The West Memorial Building has been vacant since 2008 and requires major rehabilitation in order to meet the standards of the National Building Code of Canada. This includes upgrades to meet current building standards for sustainability, health and safety, and accessibility, while at the same time conserving its heritage character. Demolition and enabling work started in fall 2019, and construction started in April 2020.
The contract award to Moriyama & Teshima Architects and Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. for design and architectural services was announced on February 23, 2018, and the contract to EllisDon Corporation for construction management services was announced on October 26, 2018.
The Supreme Court of Canada Building rehabilitation project is progressing, with the request for qualification (RFQ) for architect/engineer services published on August 19, 2020, and the one for construction manager on August 31, 2020. The occupants are scheduled to move into the West Memorial Building in summer 2024, allowing the Supreme Court of Canada Building’s rehabilitation to start in fall 2024.
West Memorial Building
- A contract was awarded to Adirondack Information Management, an Aboriginal supplier, for project monitoring services such as conducting independent review on the program of work, to assess its effectiveness and identify areas of improvement
- An additional contract was awarded to Indigenous firm Mishkumi for scheduling services
Supreme Court of Canada Building
- The SCCB rehabilitation project, through upcoming tendering processes in the fields of architecture, engineering, construction, and support services, will include a point-rated Indigenous participation plan based on lessons learned from other recent major projects with similar initiatives
- The procurement process includes terms and conditions in which bidders will be evaluated on their commitment to acquire goods and services from Indigenous firms or maximize the use of Indigenous employment or training and development
The rehabilitation projects will reduce the buildings’ impact on the environment by producing less greenhouse gas and using less energy. The renovated buildings will offer a healthy workspace that are more accessible and that supports the wellbeing of employees.
The renovated buildings will be fully accessible by providing solutions such as a ramp at the entrance, elevators, electric adjustable tables, power doors and tactile signage for people with visual and physical disabilities. The projects will also address changes in the Canadian standards for accessibility to accommodate a full range of wheeled mobility devices.
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