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Senate Subcommittee on Long Term Vision and Plan provides important input on Parliament’s rehabilitation projects

In February 2019, the Senate moved to the Senate of Canada Building, a former train station built in 1912. The Senate will occupy this temporary location while Parliament’s Centre Block — the Senate’s permanent home — is rehabilitated.

Although Centre Block is shuttered for rehabilitation work, Canadians can still experience its
 art and architecture through the Senate’s immersive virtual tour.


What do you know about the Senate Subcommittee on Long Term Vision and Plan? Read on to learn how this subcommittee came to exist, how its mandate has evolved and how it provides important input on the historic rehabilitation of Senate-occupied buildings across Parliament Hill.

An illustrated map showing LTVP projects in the parliamentary precinct that are subject to Senate review and input.

What does “Long Term Vision and Plan” mean?

The Long Term Vision and Plan is the master plan guiding the restoration and modernization of the buildings and grounds on and around Parliament Hill — known as the parliamentary precinct — so they can continue to serve Canadians and parliamentarians for decades to come.

The Long Term Vision and Plan — or LTVP, for short — envisions a modern workplace for parliamentarians that is welcoming for all Canadians, secure, environmentally sustainable, universally accessible to all visitors, and that protects the buildings’ special heritage characteristics. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), a federal department, is leading the implementation of this master plan in collaboration with its parliamentary and government partners, including the Senate.

Major projects under LTVP include:

When was the subcommittee created and who are its members?

The Senate Subcommittee on LTVP was created on March 10, 2016, through a motion introduced and adopted by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration (CIBA), the group of senators that manages the Senate’s finances and administration. It is a subcommittee of CIBA.

Members of the subcommittee also serve as “ambassadors” for LTVP projects within their caucus or recognized parliamentary group in the Red Chamber. They consult their fellow senators on LTVP issues, collect questions and ideas, and report those perspectives back to the subcommittee.

For the LTVP Subcommittee’s current membership, please visit the subcommittee’s webpage.

Senators — including LTVP Subcommittee member Senator Don Plett — get a rare, close-up view of the coffered ceiling and chandelier suspension system in Centre Block’s Senate Chamber during a site visit on October 28, 2020.

What is the subcommittee’s mandate?

When the subcommittee was created in 2016, the Senate was three years away from a scheduled move out of Centre Block and into the building that was once Ottawa’s central railway station and a government conference centre. The historic landmark, located just down the road from Centre Block, was being restored and modernized for senators’ use.

At that point, the subcommittee was mandated “to supervise all steps, processes and decisions” involved in moving the Senate and senators to their temporary home. Additionally, the subcommittee was to examine the most effective ways to ensure the rehabilitation of Centre Block — the Upper Chamber’s permanent home — respects the building’s heritage and the Senate’s requirements.

Following the successful move into the old train station, the LTVP Subcommittee’s mandate was updated in 2021. The subcommittee’s two main directives are:

  • to supervise “all steps, processes and decisions” (excluding those areas that are under the authority of the Speaker of the Senate) relating to the LTVP work program for the parliamentary precinct, in co-ordination with the Senate Administration
  • to examine the most effective ways to ensure that the Senate’s heritage and workplace requirements are respected during the rehabilitation of all the buildings it will eventually occupy, without compromising the integrity of security

How does the subcommittee provide input in practice?

Senators work closely with PSPC, the Senate Administration and other partners — including the House of Commons — to ensure good governance, fiscal responsibility and heritage preservation across rehabilitation projects in the parliamentary precinct.

The LTVP Subcommittee is informed of plans for spaces used for Senate functions; it reviews those plans and the proposed costs attached to them. Senators sometimes do this in concert with members of the House of Commons through a joint working group.

Senators on the LTVP Subcommittee take their role seriously and look for potential efficiencies and cost savings.

For example: In planning the move out of Centre Block and searching for an alternative location around Parliament Hill, senators considered a proposal to use East Block as a temporary home. However, this approach would have involved an expensive conversion of East Block’s courtyard. Senators instead chose to convert the little-used Government Conference Centre into the temporary Red Chamber, saving Canadians approximately $200 million compared to the original proposal.

Senator Scott Tannas, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Long Term Visions and Plan (LTVP), discusses the rehabilitation of Centre Block during a visit to the construction site on Parliament Hill on May 12, 2022.

What is the scope of the different Senate LTVP projects?

  • Centre Block: the largest heritage restoration project ever undertaken in Canada. This multi-year rehabilitation and modernization includes base building upgrades (mechanical, seismic, electrical) and improvements in universal accessibility, sustainability, life safety and security.
  • Parliament Welcome Centre: the first new public building on Parliament Hill in more than 100 years. This underground complex will provide connections for West Block, Centre Block and East Block. It is meant to become a secure public entrance to Parliament and will provide opportunities to enhance the visitor experience, as well as support parliamentary operations, such as Senate committee meetings.

An infographic showing how Centre Block, the Senate’s permanent home, is being upgraded to meet modern seismic standards.
  • The full rehabilitation will conserve and stabilize East Block, the most intact of Parliament Hill’s heritage buildings. It is also one of the world’s finest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture. It will include base building upgrades (mechanical, seismic, electrical) and improvements in accessibility, sustainability and life safety. This will require the building to be vacated.
  • It is anticipated that East Block will be the only building on Parliament Hill to be solely occupied by the Senate of Canada.

An image of the west face of East Block on Parliament Hill, taken prior to the building’s rehabilitation.
  • Block 2 is the city block directly facing Parliament Hill, bound by Metcalfe, Wellington, O’Connor and Sparks streets.
  • Its redevelopment is intended to house Senate spaces while East Block undergoes full rehabilitation. The Senate is expected to occupy the east portion of Block 2 only.
  • The Block 2 redevelopment project has completed an international design competition process. The winning team, Zeidler Architecture Inc. in association with David Chipperfield Architects, was announced in 2022.

A computer rendering of the winning design concept for the Block 2 redevelopment project. The winning team was Zeidler Architecture Inc. in association with David Chipperfield Architects. (Photo credit: Zeidler Architecture Inc.)

How can I stay updated on the subcommittee’s work and LTVP progress?

With support from partners, the Senate is documenting the complex and fascinating rehabilitation of Senate spaces and the LTVP Subcommittee’s involvement through its Front & Centre series.

You can find the latest Front & Centre content on:

Stay tuned… there’s much more to come!

From left, former senator Diane Griffin, LTVP Subcommittee member Senator Pierre J. Dalphond and Senator Rosa Galvez witness the restoration of the Senate of Canada Building during a site visit on June 12, 2018.

From left, senators Robert Black, Amina Gerba and Patti LaBoucane-Benson survey the Centre Block construction site from up high during a site visit on December 7, 2022. Senator Black served as a Senate jury member during the design competition for the Block 2 redevelopment project.


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