A. A Management Model

The Parliamentary Precinct is the setting for three distinct, yet related institutions. The Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament are each autonomous, with different Parliamentary functions and separate administrations. Work to date on the long-term renovation of the Parliament Buildings has resulted in successful collaboration among the institutions on many fronts — striking a balance between autonomy and collaboration. Now, with a comprehensive long-term plan under development there is a unique opportunity to build on these recent successes.

The management model described in this section offers an approach to optimizing the opportunities ahead. The model is designed to support the role of the House of Commons as a capable and knowledgeable client and to ensure that requirements are met throughout the planning and transition phases of the renovation program and far into the future.

Past Management Approaches

"Because future projects are inter-related, there is a pressing need for an updated and comprehensive long-term plan for the Parliamentary Precinct."108 Report of the Auditor General, 1998

Over the past 30 years, numerous project plans have been proposed to preserve or develop specific elements of the Parliamentary Precinct. However, few of these projects were implemented. Ad hoc, piecemeal approaches to renovation and development did not always reflect the requirements of stakeholders and tended to focus on the needs of a single institution or even a single building.

New Model for the Current Challenges

Building on the experience of previous efforts, the House proposes a model that is Precinct-wide, goal-oriented and client-driven, based on innovative decision-making and dedicated, long-term funding.

The Precinct-wide information technology initiative, led by the House of Commons, with contract advice and support from Public Works and Government Services, broke new ground in the Precinct and provides a successful example.


The long-term renovation and development of the Parliament Buildings must be comprehensive and Precinct-wide in scope. The requirements of the Senate, House of Commons and Library of Parliament should be integrated into every major element of the renovation initiative. As in all systems, a change in one area or element will have an impact on the others.

Goal-oriented and sustainable

The Parliamentary institutions, PWGSC and Treasury Board must work within a comprehensive, systems approach where outcomes, impacts and benefits are clear and sustainable.


"A first step has been taken [toward needed collaboration] with the Parliamentary Precinct Information Technology Program Charter, signed in December 1997 by Public Works, the Senate, Library of Parliament and the House of Commons." 109 Report of the Auditor General, 1998

The long-term renovation and development program for the Parliament Buildings calls for a client-driven approach to planning and implementation. The House of Commons has the expertise and capacity to serve as a knowledgeable client for the planning and implementation of the long-term plan.

The past five years have seen collaborative working relationships with the Senate and the Library of Parliament on key development initiatives. In particular, the House has served as coordinator for two Precinct-wide projects — in information technology and security — with the full collaboration of the Senate and the Library of Parliament and endorsement and support of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Innovative decision-making and funding

The new model must also include a new funding strategy, and a strong accountability component. Funding delivered through a dedicated, "detailed envelope" of dollars, with a broad, 15-year timeframe (followed by a full review of the envelope) and specific milestones (to ensure project delivery) will be key to the success of the overall plan. It will ensure that the full plan can be committed and implemented through one major funding approval, while segregating funds by specific projects. This approach provides a built-in mechanism for accountability, re-profiling of funds and for accelerating or delaying elements of the renovation as the overall program unfolds.

B. Use of Buildings

The key organizing element in defining how buildings will be used is the location of core activities of Parliament — Chamber, Committee, Caucus and Members’ offices — within a clearly defined and secure Precinct.

Matching up the requirements of the House of Commons with its buildings and facilities will result in buildings used as follows (see also Figure L):

Within the Precinct

A "sunset program" approach, with specific beginning and ending dates, built-in milestones and frequent reporting, will strengthen accountability and ensure that the full renovation and development plan is accomplished within the total approved budget

  • Centre Block will remain a multi-function building, housing the Senate and House of Commons Chambers, the historical committee rooms and offices for Parliamentary Officials, Officers, Ministers and Members.110 The building will retain its public role, accommodating the media, visitors and tourists in ways that respect the effective functioning of Members.
  • West Block will accommodate a total of nine committee rooms as well as Members’ offices and support services.
  • East Block will continue to be used by the House of Commons until the end of the renovation program.
  • Confederation and Justice Buildings will house Members’ offices and support services.
  • Replacement committee room facility will house 12 committee rooms, support services and appropriate accommodation for the public and the media.

Adjacent to the Precinct

Administrative and party research functions will be consolidated into existing Crown-owned space.

Remote from the Precinct

The facilities at 747 Belfast Road will continue to house postal, distribution, printing, photomechanical and materiel management services. The site at 45 Sacré-Cœur will remain a document storage facility.

C. Renovation Priorities

Effective transition planning will be vital to successful achievement of the long-term renovation of the Parliamentary Precinct. Of utmost importance is ensuring minimal disruption to the work of Parliament as the Precinct moves towards its new long-term patterns of accommodation and circulation.

Logical Sequence of Renovation Activities

Transition Guidelines

Sequencing of renovation activities has been established to:

  • Limit the number of moves — wherever possible, each function should move only once before it becomes permanently located;
  • Where temporary space is required, ensure that it is equal to or better than the current space;
  • Ensure that all users continue to have adequate information technology;
  • Ensure that appropriate security measures are planned for and implemented;
  • Ensure reasonable, logical patterns of access, adjacency and circulation;
  • Develop a comprehensive communication plan to keep Parliamentarians and staff informed of progress; and
  • Ensure that when temporary installations are required in buildings awaiting permanent upgrading, they are reversible and do not damage the heritage fabric of buildings.

The detailed physical requirements must be implemented in an order that leads directly to the desired use of buildings. The House of Commons has developed a scenario for ensuring that priorities are achieved. The scenario provides a "broad-brush" sequencing of renovation activities based on a set of transition guidelines, over both short and medium terms. A detailed implementation plan, required before projects are initiated, would show a phased construction plan and would illustrate several activities occurring at the same time, while maintaining the same overall sequencing shown here.

The scenario reflects the most urgent priorities from a functional point of view, as well as the most logical sequencing from a physical point of view. More detail on the nature and number of moves required, and the sequencing of events is provided in Figures M and N at the end of this section.

Over the short-term …

  1. Management model is endorsed and adopted — establishing the commitment to comprehensive renovation and development of the Precinct and identifying working relationships among all partners in the process.
  2. Parliamentary Precinct is clearly re-defined — in order to ensure that all core Parliamentary functions are located within the Precinct.
  3. Committee Room building is constructed — providing a permanent solution to meet current and future needs.

Over the medium-term …

  1. West Block is renovated — playing a major role as transition space throughout the renovation period. It will provide temporary accommodation for those functions presently housed in the Centre Block, allowing the renovation of that building to be done. Once renovations are completed, those functions will be moved back to the Centre Block and the West Block will be converted to the ultimate function of committee rooms and standard offices for Members.
  2. Centre Block is renovated — providing required information technology infrastructure, restoration of the Chamber and committee/caucus rooms, and standard offices for Members.
  3. Confederation Building is renovated — in three stages, one for each wing of the building, providing standard offices for Members.

Integral activities over the short and medium term …

Throughout the renovation program, Members’ offices will be standardized. Precinct-wide service and support systems will be addressed through integration of information technology and security infrastructure and improved circulation.