Public Services and Procurement Canada unveils design and scope for rehabilitation of Centre Block

The rehabilitation of the Centre Block is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation ever seen in Canada.

Public Services and Procurement Canada is restoring and modernizing the buildings and grounds of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct, including the Centre Block. This heritage building will be carefully restored and modernized to serve a modern parliamentary democracy and be accessible to all Canadians.

An architectural drawing of an aerial view of the Centre Block.

According to a release by the Government of Canada, Centre Block will also be transformed from one of the government’s least-performing buildings, with one of the highest energy usages and greenhouse gas emission rates, into a carbon-neutral facility.

The rehabilitation of the Centre Block is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation ever seen in Canada. 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.

A conceptual drawing of the central entry into the Parliament Welcome Centre

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; and
  • restoring the Peace Tower, including its iconic clock and the Carillon.
An architectural drawing of the House of Commons Chamber.

The building’s existing windows will be replaced with new, energy-efficient windows that also conserve its heritage character. Insulation will be added to key areas of the walls and roofs, and air infiltration will be reduced to improve the energy efficiency. The courtyards will be covered with glass roofs, decreasing the exterior wall area by more than 33 per cent and significantly reducing heat loss.

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 Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre are targeted for completion in 2030/2031. Parliament will conduct extensive commissioning and testing before reopening the Centre Block.