The National Capital Commission (NCC; French: Commission de la capitale nationale, CCN) is the Canadian Crown corporation responsible for planning, as well as taking part in the development, conservation and improvement of Canada's Capital Region. It administers many federally owned lands and buildings in the National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec).
The NCC was created by Canada's Parliament in 1959 under the National Capital Act to replace the Federal District Commission (FDC), created in 1927, and the earlier Ottawa Improvement Commission, created in 1899.
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.
The logo was modified in April 1999 with the formation of Nunavut as an independent territory from the Northwest Territories. The logo went from 10 shaded maple leaves (representing the 10 provinces) and 2 blank maple leaves (representing the two territories of Yukon and Northwest Territories) in a circular C shape, to ten shaded maple leaves and 3 blank maple leaves in a circular C shape.
After the 2006 elections, the Government of Canada asked for a formal review of the mandate of the NCC. A panel conducting the review, in its report, suggested that the Crown Corporation needed more money and should become more transparent. To achieve the latter, the governance of the organization was modified. The role of chairperson was, by amendment of the National Capital Act, divided between two positions: the Chairperson and the Chief Executive Officer. Moreover, the NCC also created an Ombudsman office.
The NCC is the responsibility of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, currently Pablo Rodríguez. It 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.
In the 28th Canadian Ministry, under Stephen Harper the NCC reported to Parliament through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and then through senior Ottawa-area cabinet ministers, the last of whom was Pierre Poilievre.
The NCC board of directors has 15 members, including the chairperson and the chief executive officer (CEO). Its main role is to oversee the corporation, and ensure that it meets its strategic objectives. The NCC board of directors meets at least four times per year.
The members of the board are appointed by the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, with the approval of the Governor-in-Council. Five are from the National Capital Region, eight are from other regions across Canada. The chairperson and CEO are appointed by the Governor-in-Council.
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The role of the NCC is to champion the interests of Ottawa, Gatineau and surrounding region as the nation's capital, typically with regard to issues of national interest, such as the location of monument and museum sites, and major streetscapes such as Confederation Boulevard.
The objects and purposes of the NCC are "to prepare plans for and assist in the development, conservation and improvement of the National Capital Region in order that the nature and character of the seat of the Government of Canada may be in accordance with its national significance."
The continuing preservation, evolution and management of Confederation Boulevard, the ceremonial route linking key attractions in National Capital Region, on both sides of the Ottawa River, in Ottawa as well as Gatineau, Quebec, are the responsibility of the NCC and its partners.
These roles are in contrast with the mandates of the various municipal governments, which serve the benefit of their immediate resident, under provincial legislation, on issues like road maintenance, sewer, water and public transport.
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.