The official residences are six important historic properties in Canada’s Capital Region. Only Rideau Hall, the residence of the governor general of Canada, is open to public visitors.
Under the Official Residences Act, the NCC is responsible for the long-term planning, capital works and ongoing maintenance of the six official residences. The aim of this legislative mandate:
- To furnish, maintain and rehabilitate to safeguard the national heritage of the official residences.
- To provide safe and appropriate accommodations for Canada’s official leaders.
- To serve as inspiring properties and grounds for the conduct of state events and ceremonies.
- To comply with new legislative requirements for universal accessibility and environmental sustainability.
The NCC receives advice and recommendations for the official residences from two advisory committees:
- Advisory Committee on the Official Residences of Canada
- Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty
The NCC has developed management principles to guide the development and maintenance of the official residences. The principles address the following:
- health and safety
- heritage protection
- functionality and serviceability
- universal accessibility
- environmentally friendly practices
Challenges in maintaining the official residences
The official residences are heritage buildings that were not designed to meet today’s functional requirements and standards. The following are some of the many challenges in maintaining the official residences:
- protecting the site’s heritage fabric
- complying with today’s standards, legislation and building codes
- integrating modern amenities
- supporting official requirements
- lack of adequate government funding, and increasing deferred maintenance
- large-scale rehabilitation projects and costs, due to decades without investment (budget constraints)