Department of National Defence to move 1,000 employees out of office due to safety concerns

'As a result of recent incidents where the safety of personnel was compromised, employees requested mitigating solutions to remedy ongoing incidents affecting staff,' stated the department.

Department of National Defence to move 1,000 employees out of office due to safety concerns
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The Department of National Defence (DND) will move roughly 1,000 employees out of an office building in Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood due to safety concerns.

The building is just a short distance away from the ByWard Market, a once-thriving Ottawa neighbourhood increasingly plagued by safety concerns

A spokesperson for the DND confirmed to CTV News that employees will be moved to the Major-General George R. Pearkes Building.

"The Department of National Defence (DND) is aware of safety concerns raised by employees working out of our 400 Cumberland St. offices," DND said in a statement.

"As a result of recent incidents where the safety of personnel was compromised, employees requested mitigating solutions to remedy ongoing incidents affecting staff. This matter is taken seriously, and we remain committed to ensuring everyone’s safety by looking into all necessary measures," stated the department.

The department will start relocating employees from 400 Cumberland St. in June, with the move expected to be completed by October.

"Once the relocation is complete, the property will be returned to Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC)," DND continued.

The DND said it's moving staff from the building at a time when the federal government is requiring employees to spend more time in offices. In September, federal employees will be required to be in the office for three days a week.

Rideau-Vanier Councillor Stéphanie Plante acknowledged the challenges faced by the ByWard Market area but expressed optimism that new initiatives could bring positive changes.

"It's not a secret that it's been quite challenging for the last couple of years and we're hoping some of the new initiatives that we are launching at the city, such as our 10-year housing and homelessness plan, such as the Neighborhood Resource Operation Centre, we're hoping things like that can really turn the page because the ByWard Market is getting 50,000 unique visitors a week and we really want it to be a welcoming place for everyone," she said.

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