Status Report on Transformational and Major Crown Projects


This website will change as a result of the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and the creation of Indigenous Services Canada and the eventual creation of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. During this transformation, you may also wish to consult the updated Indigenous and Northern Affairs home page.

This table applies to all Major Crown Projects and Transformational Projects in accordance with Treasury Board policies. Please refer to the Policy on the Management of Projects for further information.


In the 2007 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada emphasized that there are both new opportunities and new challenges in the North, and indicated it would bring forward an integrated Northern Strategy focused on strengthening Canada's sovereignty, protecting environmental heritage, promoting economic and social development, and improving and devolving governance. As a signature deliverable of this new commitment, the Government also promised to "build a world-class Arctic research station that will be on the cutting edge of Arctic issues, including environmental science and resource development. This station will be built by Canadians, in Canada's Arctic, and it will be there to serve the world". In August 2010, the Prime Minister announced that Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, will be the location for the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS).

On August 23, 2012, the Prime Minister announced a new investment for the next phases of the CHARS: $142.4 million for the construction, equipment, and fit-up of the CHARS, and $46.2 million over six years for the phase-in of the Science and Technology Program. An additional $26.5 million per year has been set aside, as of 2018–2019, for the ongoing program and operations of the CHARS.

The CHARS will be operational by 2017 to coincide with Canada's 150th anniversary.

Project Phase

Design: Budget 2010 provided $18 million over four years for the design of the CHARS. Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et associés architectes and NFOE et associés architectes, operating as a joint venture, were awarded the design consultant contract through a competitive and transparent bidding process. The design phase of the CHARS began in 2011–2012 and was completed in 2014–2015 following the receipt of the 100% design.

Construction: The construction of the CHARS began on schedule in summer 2014. The construction manager (EllisDon Corporation in joint venture with NCC Dowland Construction Ltd.) mobilized labour, delivered equipment to the site, and secured material and long lead-time items (such as structural steel) during the 2014 construction season. Construction started on the field and maintenance building and the triplex housing units at this time. Interior work has also begun on the triplex units. Material brought on sealift in fall 2014 allowed construction on the main research building (the largest and most complex of the buildings on the CHARS campus) to begin in spring 2015.

Sponsoring and Participating Departments and Agencies

Sponsoring Department: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
Contracting Authority: Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
Participating Department(s): AANDC and PWGSC

Prime and Major Subcontractor(s)

Prime Contractor: EllisDon Corporation in joint venture with NCC Dowland Construction Ltd.
Major Subcontractor(s): n/a

Major Milestones Dates
Creation of a Canadian High Arctic Research Station announced Speech from the Throne 2007
CHARS feasibility: $2 million over 2 years Budget 2009
CHARS design: $18 million over 4 years Budget 2010
Cambridge Bay location announced by Prime Minister August 2010
CHARS mandate announced by Minister December 2010
Feasibility study released on September 2011
Request for proposal (RFP) for design consultant tendered September 2011
RFP for design consultant closed November 2011
Design consultant proposals evaluated — Phase 1 December 2011
Seek decisions on construction funding Winter 2012
Design consultant proposals evaluated — Phase 2 February 2012
Design consultant contract announced August 2012
RFP for construction management services tendered November 2012
RFP for construction management services closed December 2012
RFP for construction management services evaluated January 2013
Site announced in Cambridge Bay February 2013
Consultation with Cambridge Bay residents February 2013
Construction management contract for advisory services awarded June 2013
Construction management contract for constructor services awarded May 2014
Begin site preparation June 2014
Begin construction August 2014
Complete design development January 2015
Complete land acquisition in Cambridge Bay March 2015
Operational by 150th anniversary of Confederation July 1, 2017
Commissioning complete 2018

Project Outcome

Progress Report and Explanations of Variances

Industrial Benefits

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