In recognition of the Capital’s unique role in Canada, the Parliament of Canada passed the National Capital Act in 1958. The Act established the NCC, a Crown corporation whose responsibility is “to prepare plans for and assist in the development, conservation and improvement of the National Capital Region in order that the nature and character of the seat of the Government of Canada may be in accordance with its national significance.” This mandate evolved from the NCC’s predecessor agencies, established as far back as 1899.
In order for the NCC to achieve its mission, Parliament granted the corporation several key powers, including the acquisition and disposal of lands. The Act also authorizes the NCC to undertake the following:
- construct, maintain and operate parks, squares, highways, parkways, bridges, buildings and any other works;
- maintain and improve any property of the Commission, or any other property under the control and management of a department, at the request of the authority or Minister in charge thereof;
- cooperate or engage in joint projects with, or make grants to, local municipalities or other authorities for the improvement, development or maintenance of property;
- construct, maintain and operate, or grant concessions for the operation of, places of entertainment, amusement, recreation, refreshment, or other places of public interest or accommodation on any property of the Commission;
- administer, preserve and maintain any historic place or historic museum;
- conduct investigations and researches in connection with the planning of the National Capital Region; and
- generally, do and authorize such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects and purposes of the Commission and the exercise of its powers.
Under the Act, projects using federal lands or projects initiated by a federal agency or department on any land must receive the NCC’s approval before proceeding. The NCC’s review ensures that proposals on federal land are consistent with guidance provided by the Capital Planning Framework.