National Capital Commission
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (April 2013)|
The National Capital Commission (NCC) (French: Commission de la capitale nationale) is a Canadian Crown corporation that administers the federally owned lands and buildings in Canada's National Capital Region, including Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec.
The NCC was created in 1959, replacing the Federal District Commission (FDC), which had been created in 1927, and the even earlier Ottawa Improvement Commission. The NCC was created to replace the FDC because the latter had repeatedly failed to convince municipal governments to cooperate in planning efforts regarding the capital. Although the NCC was given the authority to implement its plans, an authority confirmed by the Supreme Court in Munro v. National Capital Commission, it has been criticized for failing to assert that authority effectively.
As of 2011, the NCC reports to Parliament through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and is governed by the National Capital Act, which explains the boundaries of the National Capital Region in great detail. Its headquarters are in the Chambers Building on Elgin Street, between Queen and Sparks Streets.
The role of the NCC is to champion the interests of Ottawa and surrounding region as the nation's capital, typically with regard to issues of national interest, such as the planning of monument and museum sites, events such as Canada Day, and major streetscapes such as Confederation Boulevard, a long-discussed ceremonial route linking key attractions in National Capital Region, on both sides of the Ottawa River, in Ottawa as well as Gatineau, Quebec.
This role is in contrast with those of the various municipal governments, which work for the benefit of their immediate residents on issues like road maintenance, sewer, water and public transport. The NCC also has the duty of encouraging tourism to the capital, and thus runs events such as Winterlude and the Christmas Lights Across Canada program. It has run the only tourist information centre in Ottawa, the Capital Infocentre, located right across from Parliament Hill, since 1996. As of November 1, 2011, the Capital Infocentre will be renamed the Capital Information Kiosk and relocated to the World Exchange Plaza at 111 Albert Street. The NCC also administers Gatineau Park, the Capital Pathway and official residences such as Rideau Hall, 24 Sussex Drive and Stornoway.
The Government of Canada is the largest employer and largest landowner in these two areas, and the NCC thus has a great deal of influence over the cities. This has sometimes been criticized by city officials from Ottawa and Gatineau for a lack of cooperation, such as in 1998 when the NCC proposed levelling a large strip of downtown Ottawa to build a ceremonial boulevard along the city's existing Metcalfe Street. Over the last thirty years the activities of the NCC have been denounced or castigated by several Quebec governments. They considered municipal affairs to be a purely provincial jurisdiction, according to the constitution of Canada. Others have criticized the group for what they perceive to be poor or misguided planning decisions.
The Government of Canada asked for a formal review of the mandate of the NCC when taking office in 2006. A panel conducting the review, in its report, suggested that the Crown Corporation needed more money and should become more transparent. Although the government had promised to respond to the panel report by early 2007, it has yet to do so.[when?]
- See Gibson J., NCC v. Munro, Court of the Exchequer, 1965.
- See Munro v. NCC, Supreme Court of Canada, 1966.
- "Budget 2012". Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- laws.justice.gc.ca: "Order Designating the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Purposes of the National Capital Act" (SI/2011-48)
- laws.justice.gc.ca full text of "National Capital Act" (R.S.C., 1985, c. N-4)
- "Confederation Boulevard, National Capital Commission Web site". Retrieved 2008-02-11.[dead link]
- Sun Media (December 22, 2006). "NCC needs $25M more yearly : Panel". 24 Hours.