Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) opened a vacant federal building in Ottawa to be used as a warming centre for homeless people, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. “During these colder months, it is essential that we work together to protect everyone in our communities, including those who are more vulnerable,” said Public Services and Procurement Minister Jean-Yves Duclos in a statement. “We are seeking meaningful opportunities to use these properties.”Former CBC office the Graham Spry Building will be open to homeless people until March 31. No cost was disclosed. The Graham Spry Building was named after Canadian Radio League (CRL) founder Graham Spry. The CRL succeeded at lobbying for the creation of the CBC in 1936. PSPC is Canada’s largest landlord and manages 67-million sq.- ft. of office space. It said in a briefing note in June selling surplus buildings will take decades. It acknowledged it was “working to modernize and green the federal office portfolio over a 10-to-25 year planning horizon, which includes the disposal of assets that are no longer required.”“The department’s approach is evolving in line with the new hybrid workplace,” it said. “Planning assumptions and investment timelines are being updated to reflect current realities.”By cutting current office space by 40%, PSPC said in a briefing note in 2022 it could save $1.3 billion. It added infrastructure is the second largest expense to the Canadian government after salaries. “Studies undertaken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic showed existing office space was underutilized by at least 40% and considered inefficient, with annual operating and maintenance costs of approximately $2.4 billion,” it said. “By enabling a hybrid model of work, the department has an opportunity to optimize and modernize the portfolio [and] transform the public service.”Records published in 2023 showed vacancy rates in Canadian government offices ran as high as 70% or more under COVID-19 work-from-home policies for employees. READ MORE: 70% of federal offices now vacant, cabinet mute on previous promise to sell themCabinet disclosed in an inquiry of ministry tabled in Parliament few departments or agencies have occupied existing offices. These figures were requested by Conservative MP Scott Aitchison (Parry Sound-Muskoka, ON), who asked for data about occupancy levels of government-owned buildings across Canada.Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reported a 40% vacancy rate at its 24 offices in Ottawa. Of 821 employees, a total 490 of them work in person.