An analysis by The Canadian Press of the federal government's massive real-estate portfolio found thousands of buildings are in poor — even critical — condition.
Among the buildings in rough shape are the Parliament Buildings, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Health Canada's Laboratory Centre for Disease Control and the taxman's headquarters.
Also included on that list are thousands of smaller structures such as storage sheds, lighthouses and remote RCMP detachments.
A searchable online database of buildings that the government owns or leases turns up 31,501 entries. The government owns about 90 per cent of those buildings.
The buildings fall into five broad categories: good, fair, poor, critical and unknown.
Nearly 13 per cent — or 4,062 — of all buildings are in either poor or critical condition. Of those, 3,617 are in poor shape and another 445 are listed as critical.
About half the buildings are in fair condition and a quarter are in good shape.
The condition of the remaining buildings is unknown. That includes the prime minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive and the Governor General's home at Rideau Hall.
It is not clear why the government is in the dark about 24 Sussex and Rideau Hall, since red flags have been raised over their dilapidated state.
In a 2008 report, former auditor general Sheila Fraser said it would cost upwards of $10 million to fix the dodgy plumbing, outdated wiring and drafty windows at the prime minister's official residence.
Not far from 24 Sussex, crews are in the middle of a $863-million restoration of Parliament Hill's West Block. The job includes getting rid of hazardous materials such as asbestos, repairing masonry work, making seismic upgrades and putting in a new roof and windows.
The renovation of the 146-year-old West Block building is part of a multibillion-dollar project to restore the crumbling buildings at the very centre of Canadian democracy.
Other landmark structures that have fallen into disrepair in the nation's capital include the Library and Archives building, the old United States embassy directly across from Parliament Hill and the government conference centre — a formerly magnificent train station a stone's throw from the Hill.
The science museum is in poor condition. Housed in an old bakery in an Ottawa industrial park, the museum is too small to display its entire collection of 40,000 artifacts. A handful of displays are shoe-horned into a space originally designed for bread-delivery trucks.
A number of office buildings around the Ottawa area where public servants work are also listed as being in poor or critical condition.
The Defence Department has more buildings in poor or critical condition than any other government department or agency. The bulk of those buildings are military housing, shelters and storage.
Treasury Board spokeswoman Anabel Lindblad says a low rating doesn't necessarily mean a building is unsafe.
"It means that there are parts of a building system or systems which require unplanned maintenance and repairs, or, if not attended to, could result in the system no longer performing as designed, such as the air-conditioning system breaking down," she said in an email.
Lindblad added buildings get a "critical" designation if the ratio of the repair cost to the replacement value exceeds 30 per cent.
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