Managing the Official Residences
The NCC ensures that the six official residences in Canada’s Capital Region:
- are furnished, maintained and rehabilitated to preserve their national heritage;
- provide safe and appropriate accommodation for Canada’s official leaders; and
- serve as inspiring properties and grounds for holding state events and ceremonies.
The NCC is responsible for long-term planning, capital works and ongoing maintenance at the official residences. The occupants are responsible for household operations and activities within the residences.
The NCC takes each property’s heritage, functionality and security needs into consideration and consults with many related agencies, representatives and professionals on the official residences. The Canadiana Fund provides donated furnishings and artifacts to enhance state rooms in the official residences.
Two committees provide the NCC with advice and recommendations for the official residences:
- Advisory Committee on the Official Residences of Canada
- Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty
The Official Residences program has established management principles that guide the development and maintenance of the portfolio. The NCC continues to strive to fulfill these principles in planning and capital works implemented at the residences.
The management principles address the following issues:
- Health and safety
- Heritage protection
- Functionality and serviceability
- Universal accessibility
- Environmentally friendly practices
The full text is available in the Official Residences Management Principles document.
Challenges in Maintaining the Official Residences
The official residences are heritage buildings which were not designed to meet today’s needs and standards. There are a number of challenges involved in maintaining the official residences and extending their physical life for the benefit of future generations. These challenges include:
- Protecting the buildings’ heritage fabric
- Complying with today’s standards and building codes
- Integrating modern amenities
- Supporting official needs (for example, formal reception areas)
- Large scale rehabilitation projects and costs due to decades without investment (budget constraints)
- Conditions cannot always be confirmed until rehabilitation is under way, leading to increased scope or project delays (a common risk in managing heritage conservation projects)
The NCC continually works on overcoming these challenges and the backlog of repairs. Increased funding for the official residences has allowed the NCC to implement a more sustained and timely program of maintenance and improvements.