Centre Block Rehabilitation Project: An accessible and inclusive Parliament Building

Backgrounder

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is restoring and modernizing the Centre Block, making it more welcoming and accessible for all Canadians and ensuring the building meets the needs of a 21st century Parliament.

Universal accessibility is at the core of the Centre Block rehabilitation.  All aspects, including the corridor width, washrooms, lighting, acoustics, and even the choice of furniture are being carefully thought out to provide an inclusive, accessible, and comfortable environment.

The addition of the Parliament Welcome Centre is key to achieving this objective, allowing Canada’s Parliament to become both more secure and accessible, so that all visitors can engage in our country’s parliamentary tradition and democratic processes.  

Transforming the previously inaccessible courtyards into useable space is also central to efforts to making the Centre Block universally accessible while respecting the building’s heritage structure and without interfering with the operations of Parliament. The enclosed courtyards will provide the space needed for visitors to transition from the Parliament Welcome Centre to the Centre Block, and will provide access to the galleries of both Chambers. The courtyards will accommodate large elevators and offer wide corridors. With these new spaces, the number of visitors to Parliament will more than double from 350,000 per year to over 700,000, providing more school groups the opportunity to visit and connect with Parliament.

Building on the work of both the newly restored West Block and Senate of Canada Building, the Centre Block will offer an accessible, barrier-free path on all floors. Accessibility through inclusive design includes:

  • Tactile Walking Surface Indicators at the top of all stairs
  • Larger washroom fit-up including:
    • Adult changing tables
    • Grab bars
    • Emergency alarms buttons
    • Visual strobes alarms
  • Handrails for stairs that respond to universal accessibility best practices, potentially in addition to heritage handrails
  • Touch-free and Power Door Operators
  • Inclusion of braille, tactile elements and/or Quick Response (QR) Codes on building signage and wayfinding
  • Service Counters/Receptions Counters with lower section of the counter with knee space
  • Assistive listening devices for persons with hearing impairments

The Senate and House of Commons Galleries, Chambers and committee rooms will also be reconfigured to allow for accessible seating, something that was not possible in the past.

The Parliamentary Precinct intends to be a leading example in the development of accessible environments, making the site and buildings more accessible, family-friendly and inclusive of all Canadians and visitors.

For more information watch: Centre Block project construction update.

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