Employees in Macdonald Block Complex and Whitney Block

SUBJECT: Queen's Park Reconstruction Project

I have some important news to share with all of you. Over the next several years, there will be significant building improvements made to the Macdonald Block Complex and to the Whitney Block.

The 45-year-old Macdonald Block Complex, which includes the Macdonald Block Podium, Hearst, Hepburn, Mowat and Ferguson towers, has never undergone a major renovation. An independent third-party expert panel has advised that the buildings' core systems — including electrical, water, cooling and heating — have reached the end of their useful life and must be replaced. The panel also advised that reconstructing the complex will achieve significant long-term savings.

The panel advised that the government's average current expenditure, including operating expenses and capital expenses required to maintain the buildings in their current state, would be reduced from an annual average of $144 million to $121 million over 50 years. This results in an estimated return of all costs invested in the renovation and an annual average net savings to the province of more than $20 million for the next 50 years. Those savings will be achieved through reduced operating costs, lower energy and capital maintenance expenditures, and the reduction of over 380,000 square feet of third-party leases across the downtown Toronto core.

The project will also support the government's efforts to fight climate change. The recently releasedClimate Change Action Plan commits to making provincial government operations carbon neutral by 2018. The Queen's Park Reconstruction Project will strengthen the performance of these existing government buildings, once completed, while helping Ontario meet its short- and long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The reconstruction project will include renovations to the Whitney Block, one of Ontario's oldest government office buildings, originally completed in 1926. Renovations to the Whitney Block will include replacing windows, updating the heating system and repairing the facade.

The work will be led by the Queen's Park Reconstruction Project Secretariat from the Ministry of Infrastructure, under the direction of a Deputy Minister Steering Committee, which will be chaired by myself and co-chaired by Deputy Minister George Zegarac. After reconstruction, Macdonald Block Complex will be accessible, efficient and environmentally responsible, accommodating new ways of working, and supporting greater collaboration and innovation.


This is a long-term project that is expected to take approximately eight years from start to finish. The Macdonald Block Complex reconstruction is expected to roll out in three phases.

* Phase 1: 2016 to 2019 – Site planning, project procurement and site preparation. Employees will relocate to temporary alternate office locations beginning late 2018. Affected ministries and staff will be advised of their temporary office locations during the latter half of 2017.

* Phase 2: 2019 to 2023 – Reconstruction of the Macdonald Block Complex begins.

* Phase 3: 2023 to 2024 – Reconstruction of the Macdonald Block Complex is completed. Employees will begin to move into the newly reconstructed complex.

Employees who work in the Macdonald Block Complex will start moving to temporary alternate locations in late 2018 so that reconstruction can begin in 2019.

Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Infrastructure have secured temporary alternate office locations for affected employees within downtown Toronto that are close to transit and amenities. The locations are: 777 Bay Street, 438 University Avenue and 315 Front Street West. Affected ministries and staff will be advised which location they will be relocated to during the latter half of 2017. Ministries will be consulted and kept informed throughout all three phases.

Employees who work in the Whitney Block will be temporarily relocated within the building, as needed, while renovations are completed. The work is expected to be completed by 2020. As work progresses, further details will be shared.

Keeping you informed

I recognize that this process will impact your workplace and that there will be many questions about the Queen's Park Reconstruction Project. We are committed to keeping you informed as the project evolves.

For employees working in the Macdonald Block Complex and the Whitney Block, I will be hosting a town hall in the Ontario Room in Macdonald Block at 1 p.m. on July 5, 2016, to provide you with further information about this project and to answer questions. If you are not able attend in person, I invite you to listen in by calling 1-855-340-7035 and entering the passcode 754434. ASL interpretation will also be available at the town hall. Following the town hall, a video of the event will be posted on the project intranet page as well as on my intranet page.

For further information, please visit the dedicatedQPRP intranet page, which contains up-to-date background information, FAQs and updates about the project. Any questions about the project can be sent<>.</>

I look forward to building workplaces that will house and support our dedicated public servants for decades to come.

Original signed by

Steve Orsini

c. Andrew Bevan, Chief of Staff and Principal Secretary George Zegarac, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Infrastructure Bert Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Ontario David Hallett, Associate Deputy Minister, Government Infrastructure Projects, Ministry of Infrastructure All Chiefs of Staff All OPS Staff