Centre Block Rehabilitation Project: A modern Parliament Building for a modern Canada

Backgrounder

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is restoring and modernizing the buildings and grounds of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct. Through this rehabilitation project, Centre Block will become sustainable, accessible, and modern while celebrating the architectural style of the building and conserving its heritage elements.

To ensure that the Centre Block can support modern parliamentary operations for another century, it needs to be taken apart carefully, undergo an extensive abatement program and be rebuilt to integrate modern standards including structure, seismic, and new building and digital systems.

With 100 years of wear and tear and a high risk of critical systems failure, the building required massive intervention.

As well, all major building systems, such as mechanical and electrical, were well beyond their expected life cycle. They were increasingly failing and becoming more costly to maintain, and were unable to meet reasonable expectations for a professional workplace in the 21st century, let alone Canada’s seat of parliament.

In addition, the Centre Block is located in an active earthquake zone, and its original structure does not provide sufficient protection against earthquakes. To meet modern seismic standards, the building needed to be made safer and more resilient.

Addressing these concerns will require significant upgrades, including:

  • restoring the building's stonework, wood, plaster, frescos, stained glass, marble and metalwork
  • replacing, upgrading, and extending mechanical, electrical and fire safety systems
  • using base isolation technology to ensure that the Centre Block and the Peace Tower can meet the required building code of being retrofitted to withstand a magnitude 6.0 earthquake
  • restoring the Peace Tower, including its iconic clock and the Carillon

The Centre Block’s information technology, multimedia and security systems are also being enhanced. This modernization, including the insertion of a digital backbone into the building, as well as multimedia capabilities and facilities, will allow for enhanced broadcasting and videoconferencing capabilities that will extend the reach of the Parliament of Canada. Similarly, the restoration of historic committee rooms to provide more space as well as current technology for broadcast needs and simultaneous interpretation will provide additional access to parliamentary proceedings. 

Finally, the construction of the Parliament Welcome Centre will offer an enhanced visitor experience to the increasing numbers of Canadians and international visitors who come to Parliament. An integrated and dynamic visitor experience will provide opportunities for a deeper and broader engagement with Canada’s parliamentary traditions and democracy.

Since construction of the building more than a century ago, technology has advanced, security threats have evolved, and the need for universal accessibility for all Canadians and a sustainable future has increased.  The Centre Block must be modernized so that it can serve a modern Parliament and a modern Canada that is increasingly connected, environmentally responsible and inclusive.

For more information watch: Centre Block project construction update.

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