The partnership, formed through a joint Memorandum of Understanding, will ensure that the best quality of materials and workmanship will be applied to the construction of the new convention facility. It commits all the partners to providing a leading-edge facility with a 100-year durability and a major commitment to excellence led by the Building and Construction Trades Council, the body that represents the various unions and their affiliates in the local building and trade industry.

“Effective partnerships such as the one established here ensures that work continues through thick and thin, for better or worse, on time and within budget,” said Richard Corcoran, President, Building and Construction Trades Council. “These are the qualities that ensure success, and what we and our affiliates will demonstrate throughout the entire construction period.”

The partnership will help reduce the skilled trades shortage by creating opportunities for apprentices, address gaps in training, and identify areas for collaboration that exist in the building of a new convention centre.

“This project partnership represents more than a guarantee of quality and timely workmanship in the development of Canada’s new convention centre,” said Jim Durrell, Chair of the OCC Board. “It also represents a collective effort to partner in important educational opportunities for our youth, and to demonstrate social responsibility to renew Ottawa’s downtown core.”

The partnership also provides students in Algonquin College’s building trades program with opportunities to work with and be mentored by experienced trade workers who will build the new centre. Some of these trade apprentices include student carpenters, electricians, welders, and plumbers, for example, who will work with the latest construction materials, and learn the latest techniques in construction and environmentally friendly design.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to learn and contribute to an important new Ottawa landmark,” said John-Paul Tapp, Dean of the School of Transportation and Building Trades. “This partnership is a solid representation of what can be achieved when organizations work together towards improving our community, and the future of our community members.”

The parties have also agreed to help local agencies in their efforts to reduce homelessness in the downtown core. The consortia that qualify to submit proposals for the redevelopment of the OCC, a process expected to begin shortly, will develop the details of their participation in this initiative.

The 200,000 square foot, $159 million project is in the planning stages with a target completion date of April 2011. Funding from the federal, provincial and municipal governments is in place and committed to; arrangements for financing of approximately $ 35 million is underway. The procurement process began on February 19, 2008 with the issuing of a Request for Qualifications, which will be followed by a Request for Proposals in late April. The final selection of the consortium will take place in July. Demolition of the existing OCC site is expected to begin in September 2008.

The Ottawa Convention Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario.