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The Plan For Canada's Capital

The National Capital Commission is proud to present the Plan for Canada’s Capital, 2017–2067, the signature planning framework that will shape the vision for the nation’s capital until Canada’s bicentennial in 2067.

The NCC is the main federal urban planner in the National Capital Region. In this role, the NCC works in collaboration with stakeholders to enhance the natural and cultural character of the Capital.

The NCC ensures that the highest standards of excellence in urban and architectural design are upheld. The NCC’s goal is for the National Capital Region to be a model of urban planning: a place where decisions about the use and development of urban lands are based on considerations of environmental sensitivity, sustainability and best practices.

The NCC and its predecessors have more than 100 years of experience in Capital planning.

Master Plans

Demonstration Plans

Capital Illumination Plan

The 10-year illumination plan aims to enrich the nighttime environment in the heart of the Capital, as well as the experience it provides for visitors.

Ottawa River North Shore Improvement Plan

The plan proposes land uses and design guidelines for federal lands in the study area that will contribute to achieving a long-term vision.

Capital Pathway Strategic Plan

The NCC's strategic plan for the Capital Pathway presents a comprehensive vision and strategy for planning, managing and expanding the pathway system.

Ottawa River South Shore Riverfront Park

The Ottawa River South Shore Riverfront Park Plan creates a continuous riverfront park that contributes to environmental sustainability, is attractive and resilient, and enhances the recreational experience.

Sustainable Development Strategy, 2018-2023

The NCC Sustainable Development Strategy is our road map to continue building a greener Capital Region.

It reflects the NCC’s commitment to working with its partners, stakeholders and the public to continue building a greener and more sustainable Capital Region together.

Planning Mandate

As mandated by the National Capital Act, the NCC prepares plans for federal lands in the National Capital Region. These plans act as a blueprint for building a great capital.

As long-term planner, the NCC guides the use, physical development and management of NCC-owned lands, which is about 11 percent of all land in the Capital Region. We also coordinate the development of lands owned by other federal departments and agencies.

Planning Principles

To support the long-term development of Canada’s Capital and to meet the expectations Canadians have of their capital, NCC planners apply the following principles:


The Capital should tell Canadians about themselves and introduce Canada to people from abroad


The Capital should be a physical place of high quality


The Capital should be a model of a healthy and sustainable environment


Historical buildings, parks and archaeological treasures should be protected


Visitors to the Capital should be able to find all the services they need

Safety, comfort and accessibility

Federal lands and buildings should be identifiable, offer pleasing and secure surroundings, and be universally accessible

Transportation and communication

The Capital should be linked by good connections, with everything from bus routes and bicycle paths to electronic network

Planning Process

The federal planning process comprises the following elements :

The plans we develop stem from the Plan for Canada's Capital, and must consider the following :

  • the future needs of the Capital and the federal government
  • lands of national interest
  • the natural environment 
  • quality of life/well-being
  • heritage and the built environment
  • transportation and accessibility
  • programming and visitor activities
  • feasibility and implementation factors
  • public participation
  • municipal objectives
The NCC works with provincial and municipal partners to ensure the greatest harmony between plans in Canada's Capital Region. The NCC is part of a number of collaborations and partnerships with these and other partners.
The NCC ensures that capital plans for the Capital respect applicable legal, regulatory and policy requirements, as described below.

Federal land use, transaction and design approvals
The NCC ensures that any changes to federal properties fit with current plans and are of a quality that reflects their significance and location.

Environmental assessments
The NCC looks at every plan and project through an environmental lens to ensure environmental protection and/or provide mitigation measures. We are guided by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the NCC Environmental Strategy.

Heritage and archaeological resources
The NCC is committed to heritage preservation. We apply relevant federal heritage policies and international standards when reviewing federal properties in Canada’s Capital Region.
The last step in the planning process involves “commissioning” and evaluating the plan. “Commissioning” a plan means setting a plan in motion by outlining who does what and when.

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