Frequently asked questions

How much will the project cost and how is it being financed?

The new Maison de Radio-Canada (MRC) project is compliant with the current CBC/Radio-Canada fiscal framework, and will proceed on a cost-neutral basis. It will require no additional investment from the government or taxpayers. The money for this new, more modern facility with state-of-the-art technology will come from, amongst other things, the sale of the site and existing building.

Moreover, because CBC/Radio-Canada will be a tenant in a new building, it will avoid having to pay for the accumulated maintenance deficit of $171 million for the current facility. By proceeding in this manner, the Corporation ensures that its annual real estate costs will be predictable and fixed for the next 30 years.

What are the benefits of building a new MRC as opposed to renovating the existing facility?

The main benefit for CBC/Radio-Canada is that it will have more modern, digital, multiplatform facilities, with no additional investment required from the government or taxpayers and the risks inherent in managing real estate assets transferred to the building owner. Employees and creators in the new MRC will enjoy open-plan work spaces that will be brightly lit, versatile, and conducive to creativity. Moreover, the public broadcaster will not have to pay for the accumulated maintenance deficit of $171 million for the current facility, which has become too large for its needs.

Will the existing tower and other facilities like the Centre de l'information (CDI) be preserved?

The Groupe Mach project calls for the original Maison de Radio-Canada tower to be preserved. As for the CDI and other current MRC facilities, it will be up to their new owner, Groupe Mach, to determine whether it will retain and/or repurpose them. The final Groupe Mach plan will be the subject of discussions between the promoter and the City of Montreal, and will ultimately require approval from the borough of Ville-Marie.

Will Radio-Canada continue to produce TV and radio programming in the new MRC?

Yes. Radio-Canada will continue to produce radio, news, current affairs, variety and entertainment programs on all platforms. With a large TV studio, radio studios, large open-plan multiplatform space, multipurpose sets, as well as a studio and sets for News and Current Affairs, Radio-Canada will continue providing francophones all across the country with TV, radio, digital and mobile content in keeping with its mandate as Canada’s public broadcaster.

Why has CBC/Radio-Canada decided to sell its current facility and lease the new MRC?

By selling the site and the current facility and leasing a new building, CBC/Radio-Canada will no longer have to bear the risks and costs inherent in managing and maintaining real estate assets. And by leasing, the Corporation ensures that its annual real estate costs will be predictable and fixed for the next 30 years.

How much space will we occupy in the new building compared to the current MRC?

Our current footprint is 1.3 million sq. ft. The new MRC will have a footprint of 418,822 sq. ft.

What will happen to the parking lots during construction of the new MRC?

Construction of the new MRC at the corner René-Lévesque Blvd. and Papineau Ave. will result in the complete, permanent closure of the parking lot on the Papineau side, as soon as work begins in summer 2017. As a result, public parking will no longer be available as of that time.

The parking lot on the Wolfe St. side will remain open during construction of the new MRC, but will be reserved for employee vehicles and CBC/Radio-Canada production purposes.

Will the new building be accessible to everyone? What universal accessibility standards will be implemented?

We requested a design compliant with all applicable legislation governing universal accessibility, as well as with standard CSA B-651 – Accessible Design for the Built Environment. It’s the most stringent standard in Quebec.

How long will construction take?

According to the planned schedule, construction of the new Maison de Radio-Canada will be completed by the end of 2019. Work to revitalize the site and current facility will begin after CBC/Radio-Canada relocates to the new building in 2020.

Were neighbourhood organizations consulted as part of the process that led to the final project to build a new MRC and revitalize the site and current facility?

When the project to develop a new Maison de Radio-Canada began in 2006, the public broadcaster set up a transition committee to ensure dialogue with key organizations in the neighbourhood. That committee has become the preferred forum for consultation, information sharing, and other discussions among those groups and CBC/Radio-Canada.

After the agreements are signed and transactions finalized with Groupe Mach and Broccolini, a consultative committee will be created, with representation from the two promoters, the borough of Ville-Marie, neighbourhood organizations, and CBC/Radio-Canada.

Will neighbourhood residents be consulted on development of the site and current facility by Groupe Mach?

The City of Montreal and CBC/Radio-Canada signed a Development Agreement in 2009, which still applies and will be transferred to the promoters once the transactions are completed. Groupe Mach’s master plan for the site must be signed off on by the City, based on permitted uses under zoning by-laws. Residents will be able to avail themselves of the mechanisms in place to ask questions about, express support for, or raise concerns regarding the proposed plan.

Are social housing and parks part of Groupe Mach's plans to develop the site and current facility?

The Development Agreement reached between the City of Montreal and CBC/Radio-Canada in 2009 calls for mixed-use development, including social and community housing, affordable housing, and green spaces. The final master plan will be the subject of discussions between the promoter and the City.

Will we have access to printers in studios and control rooms?

Printers will be installed in studios and control rooms based on production requirements. The same goes for newsrooms, where printers will be strategically located around the production space for quick, efficient access. We are well aware of how important these devices are to producing our programs, especially live ones.

With the move to the new MRC, what will happen to the artworks and other CBC/Radio-Canada heritage collections (archives, props, discs, music scores, etc.)?

In the spring of 2016, CBC/Radio-Canada announced that it had created a Heritage Management Committee tasked with, among other things, recommending the most promising options for preserving and showcasing the public broadcaster’s Montreal-based collections of artworks, music scores and props.

More information is available in the “Heritage Management” section.

Radio-Canada has a number of collections – CDs, vinyl records, music scores, artworks, furniture and props. Will there be space in the new Maison de Radio-Canada to store all of these collections?

Given the building’s smaller surface area, we won’t have enough space in the new Maison de Radio-Canada to store these collections. In 2018, Radio-Canada plans to issue a series of calls for interest to identify partners who are willing and able to acquire, maintain and showcase some of the collections. The Committee will also take steps to retain usage rights, without time restrictions, for collections that remain in use for programming purposes.

What will you do with the collection of 4,000 music scores that can be considered to have heritage value?

We would like to see this collection preserved and showcased for all Canadians, while also remaining accessible for our programming needs. We are currently in discussions with Library and Archives Canada, which has informed us of its interest in preserving the collection.

What will you do with the thousands of commercial music scores held by Radio-Canada?

We issued a call for interest on January 9, 2018, to identify Canadian cultural or educational institutions interested in acquiring, at no charge, the Corporation’s collection of 113,000 commercial music scores, representing 46,000 titles, while ensuring that we retain unlimited access for our programming needs.

Why does Radio-Canada want to dispose of the props, furniture and scenery that it owns?

Our 55,000-piece inventory of props, furniture and scenery is part of a production infrastructure acquired at a time when television was produced in a very different way. Today, most shows are independently produced. The prop, furniture and scenery rental service is hardly ever used anymore. All of these current and anticipated changes stem from the need to transform ourselves as a public broadcaster, in line with the Corporation’s strategic plan.

What will happen to the 55,000 prop, furniture and scenery items currently stored at Radio-Canada?

On April 5, 2018, Radio-Canada announced that the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City will preserve many of the heritage props and furnishings associated with memorable Radio-Canada programs for posterity. Details of this collection will be revealed on a later date.

Radio-Canada also issued a call for interest for its inventory of some 55,000 non-heritage props and furnishings today with a view to giving them a second life. Educational and cultural institutions, non-profit organizations with a social mission and businesses specializing in second-hand goods and furnishings have until April 19, 2018, to express their interest. The call for interest form is available now at Radio-Canada.ca/patrimoine. Radio-Canada will reserve the right to donate the inventory to one or more interested institutions and will consider any factor that it deems to be in its best interest and that of Canadians.

How many works of art comprise the Radio-Canada collection?

The collection contains about 290 works of art (oil and acrylic on canvas, drawings on paper) and 10 in situ works. Nearly all of the works date back to the early 1970s, when MRC officially opened. A few are by renowned artists. Over half of the artworks are currently on display around the building; the rest are in storage.

The Heritage Management Committee, assisted by experts and in conjunction with the artists or their estates, is currently assessing whether certain in situ artworks (which are integral to the building’s structure) could be relocated to the new Maison de Radio-Canada. The other artworks will go into temporary storage during the move-in process and be gradually installed in the new MRC.

Is the proposed plan final?

The plan has been approved by management. There could be some minor adjustments between now and 2020, however.

I don't see where my team/department will be located.

The building cross-section shows where the main divisions will be located on each level. The location of specific departments (within the divisions) is hard to pinpoint at this early stage. Please talk to your group champion for more information. If you don’t know who that person is, your departmental assistant can help you.

What process was used to determine how teams and spaces were organized?

Blocking plans were worked out based on departmental needs. Wherever possible, departments were grouped together on the same floor to encourage collaboration on a daily basis. Radio, news and other production departments were located on the lower floors to allow for easier integration of technical spaces such as studios.

Where will teams embedded within partner areas be set up?

Embedded teams (e.g., Finance representatives) will be set up on the same floors as the partner areas. Representatives from these teams have already been assigned to the same neighbourhood design workshops as their partners.

Will senior executives also be set up in collaborative spaces?

Yes. Senior executives will be working in multipurpose spaces close to their teams.

The new MRC will be smaller than the current one. Will the move result in job cuts?

The new MRC was designed with the existing building’s occupancy levels in mind, while factoring in projections for 2020. So, the new MRC project isn’t associated with any workforce reductions.

Will it be possible to redesign spaces if new needs arise?

Teams can make changes as needed with the support of Real Estate Services. The spaces are also designed to be reconfigurable.

Did you plan spaces to potentially accommodate a bigger workforce?

We based the numbers on projected occupancy levels in 2020.

How can we work in “open” spaces if our jobs require high concentration?

The new workspaces will be multipurpose spaces that allow for a number of options – dedicated workstations; open, collaborative spaces; spaces allowing for concentration; or conference rooms able to accommodate varying numbers of people.

Will workstations be dedicated or shared?

Dedicated workstations will be available for all employees, unless a department decides to opt for shared workstations during the neighbourhood design workshops (NDWs).

Will some employees be required/allowed to telework?

There’s no official policy at this time and teleworking is left to the discretion of individual departments. Dedicated workstations will be available for all employees, unless a department decides to opt for shared workstations during the neighbourhood design workshops (NDWs).

How will we keep our documents confidential when the plan is to share printers with other teams?

There are ways to program printers to protect confidentiality. Documents will not print out unless the person who sent the documents to the printer enters a personal code directly on the unit. The Media Support team can configure your printer if you require this level of confidentiality.

What equipment (computers, telephones) will we have? Will it be suited to the new, more mobile work environment?

The Media Support teams will be in charge of determining what types of computers are used, based on the needs identified by teams during the NDWs.

Are we really going to eliminate all paper?

We realize that needs vary from department to department. Paper will not be banned. There will simply be less space to store it. Teams will therefore have to make choices (including going green). A training course is in the works to help us make the transition to a lower-paper environment. It will include a component on making optimal use of the tools at our disposal.

Will we have the option of choosing ergonomic furniture?

Furniture has already been preselected and an ergonomist worked with us to ensure that it meets prescribed ergonomic standards.

Where will the lockers be located? Will employees who are not journalists or technicians have access to lockers?

A total of 500 lockers will be installed on Level 0 (basement) and will be accessible to everyone. However, some lockers could be assigned to technicians on a priority basis. Employees will not be assigned personal lockers. A system will be set up to assign lockers for daily use.

Will we have access to printers in studios and control rooms?

Printers will be installed in studios and control rooms based on production requirements. The same goes for newsrooms, where printers will be strategically located around the production space for quick, efficient access. We are well aware of how important these devices are to producing our programs, especially live ones.

How many studios will there be in the new MRC? Will there be enough to meet our current and future production needs?

Careful consideration went into choosing the number and type of studios, based on current and projected needs. There is a plan to optimize management of studio use. The studio production department has already started this shift over the past year, bringing its studio usage and production levels more in line with what will be found in the new MRC.

For radio, there will be a range of studio types to meet our needs. A usage plan was drawn up to ensure this will be the case. The studios in the new MRC will be designed to be agile, able to support audio and radio production, as well as sound editing and mixing. Other spaces can also be soundproofed to allow for production. This option can be discussed during the neighbourhood design workshops.

For television, there will be two production studios, an open-concept studio in the Atrium, and several other spaces that can be used for production (7th-floor multipurpose room, outdoor park, patio).

For news, there will be a ground-floor studio, large sets on the second floor (including on the walkway), and six smaller sets. Four automated control rooms will also be built.

Why are the studios and production teams set up on the main and lower floors?

There were three key factors in this decision:

The studios needed to be built up to a certain height.
One of CBC/Radio-Canada’s goals for the project was openness to the community. This design will allow the public to see CBC/Radio-Canada programmers at work.
It will also show visitors that we’re a content company the minute they enter the building.

Will we still have our copy centre?

The location of the copy centre is still under review and a decision will be made in spring 2018.

How many bicycle parking spots are planned?

The current plan calls for 418 indoor parking spots and 94 outdoor.

Will parking be available at the new MRC?

Yes, but to a lesser extent. A total of 250 spots are planned (maximum allowable under City of Montreal by-laws), including spaces for the CBC/Radio-Canada vehicle fleet and electric vehicles. Oversized corporate vehicles will have a separate parking area. Active transportation methods, such as walking, cycling and public transit, will be encouraged.

How will parking spaces be assigned? Will carpooling be promoted? What about people who work irregular hours, on evenings and weekends?

The assignment method has yet to be determined. A committee will be struck to identify the criteria that will be considered, based on such factors as the needs of mobility-impaired people, production teams (for guests), carpoolers, employees with irregular schedules or kids in daycare, etc.

Will parking be available for on-air guests?

Guest parking needs will be reviewed at a later stage.

Will we be able to use the Wolfe parking lot after the move?

Our current lease (including the Wolfe parking lot) will expire when we move into the new MRC. That means we’ll no longer have access to the Wolfe lot.

Given the new MRC's reduced parking capacity, how do you plan to help employees commute to work? Have you held discussions with the STM and other public transit agencies in the region?

We encourage public and active transportation. We’re working with the company Voyagez futé to help employees make the transition. An employee task force will be set up in 2018 to help you prepare for the change and find the option that best suits your individual needs.

Can we have spaces for car sharing services? How about a Bixi station?

This issue will be discussed will the building owner and, in the case of Bixi, with the City of Montreal.

What kind of food services will there be in the new MRC?

A café of approximately 200 seats is planned for the new MRC. It will offer a variety of hot and cold items, in addition to coffee, pastries, etc. But because meals will no longer be cooked on site, there won’t be a fully equipped kitchen.

All employees were asked to complete a survey with their preferences for food services. We are also setting up a task force of interested employees and nutrition experts. Guided by the survey results and their personal tastes, task force members will help determine the future food services offering, while looking to strike the right balance of quality, variety and value.

The 200-seats space reflects current average traffic levels in the cafeteria. Note that the new MRC will have a variety of lounge-type spaces where employees can have lunch/coffee, as well as kitchenette areas equipped with sinks and microwaves on all levels of the building.

Outdoor seating will also be available.

Will there be a daycare in the new MRC and, if so, where will it be located?

Yes. There will be a daycare with 80 spots, as is currently the case. The daycare will be at the corner of Viger and Papineau on Level 2.

Will we have a sports room?

A 800 sqsf room will be used for activities such as the fitness classes given by the ACS. It’s located near the showers and change rooms. A task force will be set up to think about the development of physical and resourcing activities offered in the new MRC.

Will we have shower and locker facilities? If so, where will they be located?

In the basement. There will be six showers in each change room (men’s and women’s).

Given the new open-concept environment, how can we be sure that our workplace will be “healthy” and safe for everyone? What about issues such as hygiene and food allergies?

A task force will eventually be set up to draft a set of workplace etiquette rules (e.g., clean up your workstation before leaving, if shared). Everyone will be asked to abide by these rules. For instance, workspaces will have to be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Also note that air quality and circulation will be greatly improved with the chilled beam system.

The use of dedicated, rather than shared workstations (unless a department decides otherwise during the neighbourhood design workshops) will also help limit the spread of germs.

If there are serious food allergies, the situation will need to be discussed by departments to ensure that it’s covered in etiquette rules.

What spaces will be secure and how will security be handled at the new MRC?

All spaces above the Atrium will be secure spaces requiring an ID access card. A team is currently looking at the issue of overall site security. A risk and threat analysis has been completed and the necessary security measures will be adopted based on its findings.

Will there be a disability management office in the new MRC?

Yes, there will be one. The administrative office will be located on Level 6 not far from HR, while the doctor/nurse’s consultation room will be on Level 0.

Will there be space for the Co-op?

Yes, space is planned for the Co-op. The Co-op team is involved in these discussions.

Will the Renaud-Bray bookstore also move to the new MRC?

The Renaud-Bray bookstore will not move to the new Maison de Radio-Canada.

Will the beehives be moved to the rooftops of the new MRC?

We’d like to move the hives and set them up on the rooftops of the new building, but nothing has been confirmed yet. We’re currently discussing the matter with Broccolini. We’ll let you know more details as they become available.

Will we still have access to Caisse populaire services?

We’ll still have an ATM, but the affiliated financial institution remains to be determined. The ATM will be located next to the café, near the main entrance on Papineau. Full financial services will not be available on-site.

Will the location of the various spaces (bike parking, change rooms, showers, lockers, etc.) improve traffic flow in the building?

Yes. The various spaces were designed with traffic flow in mind. Bike users will have their own dedicated entrance to the new MRC’s parking lot. The indoor bike parking area will be located in the basement (Level 0). The change rooms (including showers and lockers) will be grouped together and also located on Level 0.