Feds plan $1B upgrades to Supreme Court of Canada building in Ottawa

The aging building needs major work, but the project will not begin for another six years

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

Despite being in critical condition, repairs to the Supreme Court of Canada building will not begin for at least another six years and will not be completed until at least 2028.

Public Works announced on Monday that the Supreme Court building will undergo a five-year renovation beginning in 2023. Construction is estimated to last at least five years, with an initial price tag of over $1 billion.

Major renovations are required to shore up structural issues with the building. The Treasury Board of Canada, which maintains a database of all federal properties, lists the Supreme Court building as being in critical condition.

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In January, CBC reported that an internal Public Works briefing acknowledged that the building’s mechanical systems were expected to fail by 2020, its electrical systems by 2021, and that the roof above the parking garage — which has been subject to water damage — could collapse by 2018.

However, construction on the nearby West Memorial building, at 344 Wellington St. needs to be completed before the justices and offices of the Supreme Court can be moved in. That property has been vacant since 2008, and is also in desperate need of repairs.

In April, Metro reported that the West Memorial $6.2-million project had a one-year timeline and that, at the time, occupancy plans were still “under development.”

Now that Public Works has announced that the Supreme Court is to occupy the building, however, the construction timeline appears to have quadrupled, jumping from a one- to a four-year estimate in Monday’s announcement. Construction is not set to begin until 2019 and continue into 2023.

Public Works declined to comment on whether there were any plans to repair the aging Supreme Court between now and 2023, despite internal reports suggesting major systems failures ahead of that date.

This story originally appeared in Metro News.

With files from Ryam Tumilty

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