Canada's Embassy in Beijing requires a Master Plan to sketch campus upgrades to please environmentalists, encourage staff retention and to maximize capacity for electronic immigration processing.
According to documents released on the Government of Canada's Buy and Sell website, our country's Beijing Mission is experiencing “major growth over the last 10 years” and as such requires “needs renovation and redevelopment”.
A fifty page request for an "Architectural and Engineering" proposal uploaded by Minister François-Philippe Champagne's Global Affairs Canada identifies the need for "space optimization" to be conducted over the next twenty years at the compound:
Or, as the request frames it:
The Minister seeks to enhance its presence through excellence in its Missions abroad.
Requirements for Master Plan
According to the request, there are several marks that a Master Plan must hit:
- [Be] respectful of the urban landscape and cultural and social fabric
- Create a low to nil energy footprint by implementing measures to reduce consumption of all
utilities (water, gas, electricity)
- If possible and proven, demonstrate Canadian innovations in sustainability
- Implement opportunities to green overall operations
Aside from practical considerations like physical renovations,
...the Master Plan should be a product of pragmatic creativity balancing functionality and site constraints and opportunities with design elements that will appeal to investors, stewards, environmentalists, employees, visitors and the host country alike.
...The Master Plan will incorporate a diverse environmental, social, cultural, economic and political considerations, including but not limited to, heritage, existing and future context, land use, government priorities, community amenities, accessibility, security, cultural and regional realities.
Upgrades Required to Improve Immigration Services
One of the components of the campus upgrade is to facilitate the move to digital immigration paperwork:
Until the onset of COVID-19, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s operation in Beijing had been one of the busiest in the world, operating in a facility that does not meet their needs. While file storage space and a paper-based workflow must be accommodated, the master plan must allow sufficient flexibility to adapt to the move to online paperless applications.
Earlier this week, IRCC recognized their “increased reliance in online service delivery” in a report announcing a $30 million expression of interest to “continue to support newcomers’ successful integration in the COVID-19 recovery period.”
Air Quality Blamed For Scaring Off Embassy Staff
"Beijing also has some of the world’s worst air quality," states the project description:
...the air quality issue has an impact on staff retention and recruitment, with some staff considering early departure from the Mission and the department experiencing difficulties in filling positions due to concerns over air quality.
In September, Blacklock's reported that the air quality in Beijing has a direct negative impact on the quality of life of Embassy staff who are then suffering from poor morale.
Canada, China and Hong Kong Relations
A recent Pew Research poll found that 73% of Canadians have a negative view of China.
Further, the description of the project includes a Consulate General in Hong Kong as part of Canada's “interests across China”:
In China, Canada is represented by the embassy in Beijing. Beijing is a large Category 1 mission with a road mandate and complex operating environment... Canada also has Consulates General in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong.
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