Status Report on transformational and major Crown projects

Project name: Canadian High Arctic Research Station

Description

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. 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, it was announced that Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, would be the location for the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS).

Architectural design, construction, equipment, and furniture for CHARS, as well as the implementation of the science and technology program are estimated at a value of approximately $250 million up to and including 2017–2018.

INAC is responsible for delivering on the architectural design, construction, equipment, and furniture for the station at an estimated total cost of $204.8 million. The remaining $46.2 million for implementation of the science and technology program was initially administered by INAC and is now administered by Polar Knowledge Canada. After construction is complete in 2018, $26.5 million per year will support the station's ongoing operations by Polar Knowledge Canada, which will be headquartered in Cambridge Bay.

CHARS is expected to be operational by the summer of 2017 to coincide with Canada's 150th anniversary.

Project outcomes

  • The objective of this project is to provide researchers with access to a world-class arctic science and technology platform in the Canadian North by establishing the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. Performance indicators will be developed as part of the business case to confirm this objective has been reached.
  • Beneficiaries of this project include scientists, Northerners and all Canadians.

Industrial benefits

  • Design and construction of the research station will provide jobs in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, across the North, and in specialized sectors in southern Canada.
  • Canada's consultation and procurement obligations as specified in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act are being respected in the implementation of the CHARS initiative.
  • Inuit Benefit Plans have been used as the key mechanism to deliver on NLCA obligations in procurement related to CHARS, including on the construction project, equipment procurement, and leased housing. This approach includes implementation of an Inuit Human Resources Plan that identifies targets for Inuit labour force participation, an Inuit Skills Development Plan for on-the-job training, and an Inuit Business Plan which provides for contracts to be awarded to Inuit-owned firms. Based on actual demonstrated values to February 2016, $52.8 million has been contributed to the Inuit Benefits Plan for the construction project.

Sponsoring department

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Contracting authority

Public Services and Procurement Canada

Participating departments

Not Applicable

Prime contractor

EllisDon Corporation in joint venture with NCC Dowland Construction Ltd.

Major subcontractors

Subcontracting managed by the EllisDon Corporation (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Project phase

Design: Budget 2010 provided $18 million over four years for the design of CHARS. EVOQ architects (previously known as Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet et associés architects) 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 CHARS began in 2011–2012 and was completed in 2014–2015 following the receipt of the 100% design.

Construction: The construction of 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 Accommodation Buildings at this time, and interior work began on the Triplex Accommodation Buildings. 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. In September 2015, the foundation for the Main Research Building was completed and the structural steel was erected.

In November 2015, the two Triplex accommodation buildings were completed and are now in use by Polar Knowledge Canada. Interior work in the Field and Maintenance Building is progressing and is scheduled for substantial completion in November 2016. Closing in the Main Research Building is complete and interior finishing work is ongoing. The campus is expected to be operational in the summer of 2017, with commissioning complete by March 2018.

Major milestones Date
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 Science.gc.ca 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 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
Complete Triplex Accommodation Buildings November 2015
Complete Field and Maintenance Building November 2016
Campus operational by 150th anniversary of Confederation Summer 2017 (anticipated)
Commissioning complete 2018

Progress report and explanation of variances

  • Architectural design, construction, equipment, and furniture for the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, as well as the implementation of the science and technology program are estimated at a value of approximately $250 million up to and including 2017–2018.
  • The CHARS Major Crown Project is on scope and scheduled to be operational by summer of 2017.
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