Project briefs: Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs—February 27, 2020

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Centre Block Rehabilitation Program

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Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is implementing a multi-year restoration and modernization of the Centre Block (CB) as part of the Long Term and Vision Plan (LTVP) for the Parliamentary Precinct in order to safeguard its heritage, support a modern and evolving Parliament and enhance the visitor experience.

The minister responsible for Public Services and Procurement is the official custodian of the buildings and grounds in the Parliamentary Precinct. The LTVP, [Redacted], sets out a plan for the restoration and modernization of the Parliamentary Precinct buildings and grounds. [Redacted], the LTVP is currently focused on the historic restoration of the Centre Block and transforming the precinct into an integrated campus.

Program scope

The program is restoring and modernizing the Centre Block to meet the needs of a 21st century Parliament:

To meet the functional needs of a modern parliament, the program also includes construction of an expanded Visitor Welcome Centre (VWC) which will provide a secure underground connection that links the West, Centre and East blocks, along with enhanced security, visitor experience and material handling.

Status and next steps

The program is tracking on budget, scope and schedule. Parliamentary operations were successfully moved out of CB in January 2019. In September 2019, the building was handed over to the construction manager (CM), and towards the end of 2019, major construction activities commenced. Many activities will continue to be launched into 2020.

Enabling projects: PSPC has successfully completed several key projects to support the start of major construction activities in late 2019, including the relocation of Library of Parliament, National Press Hot Room and Books of Remembrance; and construction of storage spaces for heritage/non-heritage assets, temporary loading dock and expanded public washrooms.

Inside the building: Significant advancements have been made inside the building and major demolition and abatement activities were launched in December 2019:

Site preparation: Significant work is also underway to prepare the site for major construction activities, including the dismantling of Vaux Wall for preservation and storage and establishing construction site perimeter and associated infrastructure (for example, temporary public road), and remove of the overburden to prepare for excavation in winter 2020.

A detailed assessment of the building condition started in 2017. Phase I (completed in 2017) included non-invasive testing in an occupied building (for example, visual inspections, data collection, sampling, core drilling, mapping). Phase II is underway in an unoccupied building. It is more invasive and includes, for example, opening up walls and floors to further examine building condition for example load capacity and structural steel). The findings of the assessment will inform design development, reduce risk, and inform a baseline scope, schedule and cost.

Demolition and excavation: Contracts for demolition and abetment have been awarded and extensive work began in December 2019 (for example, removal floor plates on floors 4, 5, 6 and the attic; and plaster and non-heritage elements, including designated substances). Award of contract for mass excavation of the front lawn is planned for winter 2020.

Construction site and interpretive hoarding: In the spring of 2020, ahead of the main tourist season, interpretive panels are being installed along the perimeter of the construction site featuring indigenous and visitor interpretation elements. Engagement with the minister, the partners and key stakeholders on panels, as the broader visitor experience is planned for winter 2020.

Project scope, schedule and budget will be finalized once the detailed condition assessment is complete (winter 2020) and schematic design is sufficiently advanced (spring 2020).

Visitor Welcome Centre

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Discussions about the need for a visitor reception and tourism type of facility go as far back as the 1976 Abbott Commission Report, in which the commission, composed of current and former parliamentarians, was emphatic about the notion of visitor accessibility to parliament. It recommended that visitors to Parliament Hill be provided with a range of conveniences, such as a cafeteria, an enlarged bookstore and information centre, and an exhibition area should be designed into the Parliamentary Precinct in a secure and permanent facility.

Over time and in light of emerging security threats, this evolved into a facility whose main focus was to improve security by allowing screening to take place outside of the footprint of the main Parliament buildings on the Hill. Given recent attacks in Ottawa and Northern Europe over the past few years, the need for an isolated secure space for screening was paramount. Over time, the Visitor Welcome Centre space also came to be seen as a means of addressing demands for additional space by parliamentarians.

Pre-planning and planning phases of Visitor Welcome Centre phase 1: 2009 to 2013

[Redacted]. Parliamentary Partners and PSPC undertook pre-planning and design development activities to implement the Visitor Welcome Centre, in conformance with the LTVP governance regime. This included workshops, reports and studies, including the functional requirements reports, schematic design reports; design development reports; tender documents, etc. All deliverables were subject to a formal acceptance process by parliamentary partners at the appropriate stages of their development to ensure they meet the user groups’ requirements.

For a project such as the Visitor Welcome Centre phase 1, the Functional Requirements Report totaled several hundred pages, developed over many months by the project team, the main architecture and engineering firm, the parliamentary partners, security forces given the strong security focus of the project (Parliamentary Protective Service was not in place at that time), and other stakeholders. Functional requirements reports would include, for instance:

As appropriate, the Senate of Canada, House of Commons and Library of Parliament briefed their internal governance (clerks / speakers / Board of Internal Economy (BOIE) / sub-committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (COIE)) to provide an update on progress and any issues requiring their involvement.

Planning for the precinct’s overall security and visitor services was essential to provide direction for the West Block project. The work confirmed that the Visitor Welcome Centre should be developed in phases, concurrent with the major capital work plans for the West Block, East Block and Centre Block.

Excavation and Construction of Visitor Welcome Centre phase 1

Throughout the pre-planning, planning and construction phases of the Visitor Welcome Centre phase 1, PSPC provided the parliamentary partners with funding known as ‘knowledgeable client funding’ to ensure that the partners were appropriately staffed for their critical role in supporting the implementation of major projects under the LTVP. This allows the parliamentary partners to assign human resources to the project teams to ensure that their requirements, operational needs are defined, coordinated, approved and implemented through all project phases.

In addition, parliamentary partners had constant access to the construction site to monitor progress. Further, a large number of ‘tours’ were organized, particularly in 2018 to ensure the space met parliamentary requirements.

Status and next steps

Future plans for Visitor Welcome Centre Phase 2

Until the functional requirements are confirmed with the parliamentary partners and the schematic design is completed, many specific elements on the future plans of the Visitor Welcome Centre Complex (VWCC) cannot be confirmed. Elements such as the locations and number of public entrances and exits and the future functions of phase 1 when phase 2 is completed cannot be confirmed as the footprint of the VWCC is still in development. Investments made during phase 1 will be leveraged going forward as planning and construction of phase 2 is completed to create one integrated facility that interconnects the West, Centre and East blocks, making it one integrated parliamentary complex.

With regard to the services presently located in phase 1 of the Visitor Welcome Centre (VWC), while it is too early to articulate the final size as well as the exact location of the various visitor services of the next phase of the Visitor Welcome Centre, creating a facility that extends across the front of the Centre Block and interconnecting the West, Centre and East blocks would need to be at least 3 times the size of phase 1, which is over 5,000 square metres. The preliminary requirements obtained from the administrations of the parliamentary partners would require additional space. PSPC is currently working with the parliamentary partners to refine these requirements and develop appropriate designs.

Finalizing parliamentary functional requirements and completing schematic designs will allow for establishment of a substantive scope, cost and schedule. PSPC is working with its parliamentary partners to develop 3 options for the Centre Block and Visitor Welcome Centre options. These options will be used to engage parliamentarians so that they can be fully engaged in driving decisions on this project of national importance to create a modern, safe and secure Parliament for the 21st century that is open and engaging for Canadians.

In order to advance construction activities, initial excavation of the VWC is scheduled to begin in winter 2020, in parallel to the Centre Block and Visitor Welcome Centre schematic design which will be finalized by spring 2020. To begin excavation work prior to parliamentarians providing input on functional and design options, a phased approach will be taken to ensure that excavation does not exceed a minimal footprint prior to final decisions being taken. Until then, pre-construction preparations and early works, including archeological assessments and the removal of infrastructure are underway.

With regard to funding expended on phase 2 of the VWC, PSPC used a 2-phased procurement strategy to award the architectural and engineering services and the construction management services contracts for the Centre Block rehabilitation project, including phase 2 of the VWC.

The architecture and engineering services and construction management services (CM) contracts were awarded in April 2017 and the selected contractor was announced on BuyandSell on November 8, 2017. The $127-million architecture and engineering services contract was for initiation of design development, support for the schematic design for the Centre Block and VWC, support for enabling projects/early works and for developing and carrying out the assessment program. The $598 million CM contract was for construction activities to execute the enabling projects, assessment program, construction oversight and management services including the tendering of subcontracts.

Integrated parliamentary campus

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Background and Status

[Redacted]The 3-step strategy is outlined as follows:

Central to the advancement of the integrated campus 3-step strategy is the redevelopment of 3 city blocks across from Parliament Hill, along Sparks and Wellington streets, namely Block 1 (buildings between Elgin, Sparks, Metcalfe and Wellington streets), Block 2 (buildings between Metcalfe, Sparks, O’Connor and Wellington streets), and Block 3 (buildings between O’Connor, Sparks, Bank and Wellington streets).

The redevelopment of blocks 1, 2 and 3 comprises a multitude of inter-related projects in the 3 blocks. The redevelopment of Block 2 is identified as the initial project to be undertaken and includes transforming 100 Wellington into a new space for Indigenous peoples. Projects within all the blocks may be accelerated based on asset conditions, opportunities and user requirements.

The next step in advancing the campus strategy is the redevelopment of Block 2. This is to proceed as soon as possible on the construction of a new landmark building to provide swing space for East Block and Confederation Building, as well as proceeding with the transformation of 100 Wellington into a space for Indigenous peoples.

The campus strategy also calls for Block 1 to undergo significant redevelopment to create swing space for the eventual rehabilitation of the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council Office building (OPMPC), formerly known as the Langevin Building. Swing space for occupants of Block 1 buildings is required in order to proceed, as the nature of the work required will not allow occupants to remain in the buildings while work is underway.

The redevelopment of the remaining city block—Block 3—will follow that of blocks 2 and 1, with potential overlapping delivery schedules. Much of Block 3 has already been addressed with the completion of the Wellington and the Sir John A Macdonald Buildings.

Moving forward, PSPC is concentrating its efforts on the Centre Block Rehabilitation Program, transforming the precinct into an integrated campus starting with the redevelopment of Block 2, and collaborating with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to advance the Indigenous peoples’ space at 100 Wellington.


Leveraging all assets in the precinct will allow PSPC to adopt a campus-wide approach to sustainability, making the Parliamentary Precinct a model in environmental sustainability. Sustainability costs, as well as life-cycle benefits, are incorporated into overall project costs. The redevelopment of assets along Sparks and Wellington streets will prepare them for the energy service acquisition project, which aims at modernizing heating and cooling infrastructure throughout the National Capital Region. The adoption of the campus approach presents even more opportunities from a sustainability perspective, enabling the department to strive toward becoming a model of excellence in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions reduction, energy and water conservation, and waste management.

Block 2 redevelopment project

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As part of the Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary Precinct, PSPC is restoring the remaining buildings in the precinct to create an integrated parliamentary campus that addresses Parliament’s long-term requirements, including material handling, the movement of people and goods, accessibility, sustainability, and security.

This includes the redevelopment of the city block facing Parliament Hill bounded by Wellington, O’Connor, Sparks and Metcalfe streets (Block 2), which consists of 11 buildings, the majority of which have or will shortly reach the end of their life cycle. Block 2 includes the Indigenous peoples’ space at 100 Wellington and while the space currently stands independently from the scope of this competition, PSPC will work in close partnership with Indigenous stakeholders on design and redevelopment.

As a primarily a new-build project, Block 2 provides a unique opportunity to obtain high levels of greenhouse gas reductions, meet other sustainability objectives and will provide opportunities for youth and Indigenous people, create jobs and promote innovation.

PSPC plans to launch an architectural design competition to redevelop Block 2.

Architectural design competitions are among the most effective ways to achieve excellence in building design and offer a way to evaluate multiple design proposals in a formal, professionally driven procedure.

PSPC has engaged the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) to oversee the design competition process, including the nomination of an independent jury who will recommend the competition prize winners. The jury will provide a recommendation to the department and the final decision will be made by the minister of PSPC.

An advanced procurement notice (APN) was issued on January 20, 2020, to inform the industry of this upcoming opportunity in the Parliamentary Precinct. PSPC will issue a request for qualifications in the coming months.

100 Wellington: Indigenous peoples’ space

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

Ottawa’s 100 Wellington Street building is a classified heritage building located directly across from Parliament Hill. The building was constructed in 1931 to 1932, and was occupied by the United States embassy until 1998, but has since remained vacant.

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

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

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


At the request of National Representative Organizations, Public Services and Procurement Canada worked with CrownIndigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to develop a short-term use of the facility as an exposition, meeting and press space while the planning and development of its long-term permanent use is underway. Public Services and Procurement Canada delivered the short-term use as planned in June 2019.

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

Long Term and Vision Plan update

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First approved in 2001, and subsequently updated in 2006, the LTVP has made significant progress in addressing health and safety risks, and in modernizing the Parliamentary Precinct to meet the needs of a 21st century Parliament, including providing modern information technology, multimedia, and security enhancements.

The LTVP is delivered through rolling programs of work that offer flexibility to respond to emerging priorities and is comprised of multiple, concurrent projects of varying sizes and duration, including: large-scale heritage restorations, new construction projects, smaller fit-up work, and planning initiatives. The important investments made through the implementation of the LTVP are making the precinct greener, safer and more accessible while creating significant employment and skills development opportunities for Canadians across the country.

To further shift away from a building-by-building approach and towards an integrated parliamentary campus, PSPC is developing a campus master plan as the next update to the LTVP. This will enable the department to incorporate evolving conditions and requirements, take advantage of arising opportunities, and ensure the LTVP reflects current government and parliamentary priorities. This new document will build on and replace the 2006 LTVP, and will guide decision making about future growth, development, rehabilitation and infrastructure with the underlying objective of building an integrated, modern, secured, connected, accessible and sustainable parliamentary campus.

Status and next steps

The LTVP update is being guided by 5 strategic directions: parliamentary accommodations, infrastructure planning, security, innovation, and future growth. Over the course of the coming months, PSPC, the parliamentary partners, and stakeholder working groups will continue to work collaboratively to identify functional, flexible, integrated, and creative approaches to realize the full potential of the precinct campus and its important role in the nation's capital. A public engagement strategy is also being developed in collaboration with the parliamentary partners with the aim to provide Canadians with an opportunity to provide input on certain aspects (for example visitor experience and services) of the modernization and rehabilitation program for the Parliamentary Precinct.

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