Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Glowing Report Card by Public Works Masks Parliament Hill Renovation Problems

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Glowing Report Card by Public Works Masks Parliament Hill Renovation Problems

Article excerpt

Glowing report masks Public Works problems


OTTAWA - Public Works says its multibillion-dollar makeover of Parliament Hill is right on schedule, but an internal document casts doubts on that claim.

The department has awarded itself top marks for on-time delivery of major projects in the parliamentary precinct, saying more than 90 per cent have met their deadlines.

The 90 per cent target was set in 2012 after the department came under fire from then-auditor general Sheila Fraser and others for weak accountability over the expensive refurbishing of the crumbling buildings, including the West Block.

But Public Works' most recent report card shows that only about 70 per cent of all projects are actually on time.

The rest are behind schedule -- some of them by a long way -- but the department gives itself good grades anyway because it either plans to adjust the schedule to accommodate straggling projects or find a way to catch up.

These late projects -- coded yellow, rather than green -- are therefore counted as on-time, masking a potentially troubled delivery schedule.

"When measuring results, green and yellow ratings are considered to be on target," says an internal Public Works report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act after a five-month delay.

"Where projects were assessed a yellow rating, action plans and mitigation measures were put in place, which is why these projects are considered to be on-target."

Remove the yellow projects, and average on-time performance falls to 70 per cent overall.

One project to improve technology throughout the buildings falls well below 30 per cent for on-time delivery. Capital construction and renovations, the two biggest project areas, are each at about 80 per cent for on-time delivery.

The internal report, dated Aug. 20 last year, is the most recent annual accounting of the money spent fixing up the historic structures on Parliament Hill and area.

From 2001 until March 31 this year, the various projects have cost taxpayers $1. …

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