Executive summary: The Long Term Vision and Plan for the Parliamentary Precinct—Annual Report 2020 to 2021

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In 2020 to 2021, we made significant progress in our ongoing efforts to restore and modernize Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct. While moving forward on several key projects, including the historic Centre Block and the redevelopment of Block 2, we also tackled the reality of an emerging global pandemic—an achievement that would not have been possible without the collaboration of our partners and stakeholders, and the dedication of our employees.

In the following pages, we take stock of the year’s achievements and the broader steps taken to leverage the work in the Parliamentary Precinct to go beyond just the built environment.

Overcoming the challenges of a global pandemic

The onset of COVID-19 had a profound impact on the way we work. PSPC worked closely with the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) to develop construction site protocols that became best practices of the industry. This partnership with the industry enabled Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to pivot quickly and keep all projects going, and more importantly, to keep workers safe. This collaboration led to the CCA using the practices employed on Parliament Hill as the best practice health and safety standards for construction sites across Canada. This partnership was key in buffering the effects of the pandemic on Canada’s economy by keeping workers safe and employed.

Strengthened partnerships

The success of the Long Term Vision and Plan rests heavily on our partnerships with Parliament, industry and stakeholders. Part of this partnership is guided by a robust governance at the administrative and political levels with the Senate, the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament and the Parliamentary Protective Service, and it must continue to evolve as the projects progress. Significantly, this past year provided many opportunities to enhance our relationships with our Indigenous partners. We worked with local Algonquin communities to return a pre-contact mòkomàn to the Algonquin Nation and launched an archaeological field school. Close collaboration with them, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, resulted in a new initiative to share rich information on Indigenous Peoples with visitors through new interpretive content on Parliament Hill. Furthermore, our partnership with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) is guaranteeing that world-class design is central on some of the most important public buildings in our country. Through the creation of an Independent Design Review Panel, RAIC brought together a number of eminent Canadian architects and design professionals, as well as a former Architect of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to provide feedback on the design direction for the Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre. Similarly, the partnership with RAIC is also supporting the Block 2 Design Competition with the creation of an independent jury enabling PSPC to tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Globally influential project

In the fall of 2020, the rehabilitation work underway in the Parliamentary Precinct was named a globally influential project, and number 1 in Canada by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This work was subsequently used by PMI as a featured global case study highlighting PSPC’s comprehensive project management approach to fulfill business objectives and overcome challenges.

From a project standpoint, Phase 1 of the East Block continued to focus on the exterior of the 1867 wing; a delicate exercise of preserving the gothic beauty of the building while parliamentary operations continued inside. 2020 to 2021 also laid deeper foundations on the key projects comprising the current program of work.

The largest heritage restoration project ever undertaken in Canada

Progress on the Centre Block Rehabilitation and the new Parliament Welcome Centre continued with considerable strides made in excavation, demolition, abatement, and restoration work. The year was also marked by the first meeting of an Independent Design Review Panel for the project providing advice to PSPC and its partners on achieving a balance between restoration and modernization, which in turn supported the department in unveiling a first look at conceptual designs for the renewed Parliament, along with projected budget and schedule.

Completing the Precinct’s fourth façade

Following a successful request for a qualification process in 2020 to 2021, PSPC launched an international design competition for Block 2, which RAIC Honorary Advisor, John Ralston Saul, characterized as “a national project of enormous importance”; 12 architectural firms have been invited to submit design proposals to adapt and transform the mix of aging buildings into modern, efficient and safe accommodations for Parliament and will “complete the fourth facade of Parliament square.”

Updating the Long Term Vision and Plan

The implementation and evolution of the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) would not be possible without a dynamic workforce and a group of trusted, engaged partners. Our ongoing engagement throughout 2020 to 2021 helped to confirm strategic directions on an update for the LTVP, which, subject to approval, will ensure the continued development of the Parliamentary Precinct encompasses the areas of sustainability, universal accessibility, security, heritage and mobility of people, goods and vehicles, and that Canada is positioned to be a leader in these areas.

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