Centre Block Rehabilitation Project: Preserving Canada’s Indigenous culture and heritage

Backgrounder

Centre Block is one of Canada’s most iconic buildings and a symbol of our democracy and values. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is ensuring that the rehabilitated Centre Block truly represents Canada’s rich diversity and Indigenous heritage.

Through the rehabilitation, the many existing Indigenous symbols and art pieces found throughout the building will be restored and reinstated. For example, the “Giniigaaniimenaaning” stained glass window, commissioned to commemorate the survivors of Indian Residential Schools and their families, was removed for protection for the duration of the project and will be reinstalled above the members' entrance to the House of Commons.

Early on in the project, PSPC engaged with representatives from the Algonquin Nation to explain the work that will be undertaken, with a commitment to incorporating Indigenous design into the new Parliament Welcome Centre. As part of this process, PSPC intends to carry out broader engagements through a Visioning Session, where members will include Elders and Indigenous experts and academics, These members will bring external perspectives to the rehabilitation of the Centre Block and construction of the Parliament Welcome Centre, along with increasing opportunities for Indigenous historic, artistic and cultural elements to be included.

PSPC has also worked with the National Indigenous Organizations and with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Algonquin of Pikwakanagan on the creation of Indigenous content for interpretive panels that will line the front of the Centre Block construction site. One panel will focus on the collaborative work to authenticate a stone knife (Mòkomàn) discovered on Parliament Hill as part of the archaeological work carried out in preparation for the Centre Block project. PSPC and the two Algonquin communities are working together to transfer the artifact to the Algonquin Nation, and to develop an Indigenous archaeological field school to ensure that Indigenous people are conducting this important archaeological work.

PSPC is also creating opportunities for Indigenous firms by targeting to subcontract at least 5% of the work on current and future work on this project to Indigenous firms. For instance, PSPC is working to develop apprenticeship programs in a variety of trades to encourage more Indigenous peoples to take part in projects in the Parliamentary Precinct. PSPC is co-developing a pilot project with the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario to increase Indigenous labour market participation in projects in the Precinct and the National Capital Area. The project will first focus its work on the Centre Block program to develop a “proof of concept” approach, including a “concierge” package to support winning bidders.

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