News release

Deputy, Ministerial Appointments

Premier Stephen McNeil today, May 30, announced departmental changes and several appointments in the senior ranks of government.

Denise Perret, deputy minister of Health and Wellness is leaving government and Dr. Tom Marrie, a former dean of medicine at Dalhousie University, has been appointed interim deputy minister. Dr. Marrie has had a long career as a medical researcher, teacher, administrator and clinician.

“I want to sincerely thank Denise for her vision and contribution to improving the health of Nova Scotians during a challenging time in health care,” said Premier McNeil. “Dr. Marrie joins government at an important point in time as we work to create a better environment to attract and retain health care professionals in our province.”

Tracey Taweel, currently the deputy minister at Communities, Culture and Heritage, has been appointed deputy minister of Community Services, following the departure of Lynn Hartwell to Nova Scotia Community College. Tracey Barbrick, associate deputy minister at Labour and Advanced Education, will become associate deputy minister of Community Services.

Nancy MacLellan will become deputy minister of the new department of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Catherine Berliner has been appointed the department’s associate deputy minister. Ms. Berliner is the first indigenous person to be appointed to a deputy-level position in the province’s history. Current Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter will be the minister of the blended department.

Justin Huston will be the new deputy minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage in addition to his role as CEO of Aboriginal Affairs. Melissa MacKinnon will move from the position of associate deputy minister at Communications Nova Scotia to become associate deputy minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

Donna Macdonald, executive director at Education and Early Childhood Development, will become associate deputy minister at Communications Nova Scotia, where she spent several years as a managing director.

Ava Czapalay has been appointed associate deputy minister of Labour and Advanced Education after serving several years as senior executive director of higher education.

Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services will merge and Joanne Munro, current CEO of Service Nova Scotia, will become deputy minister, as Jeff Conrad plans to retire. Natasha Clarke, current executive director of digital services, has been appointed associate deputy minister and chief digital officer. Current Internal Services Minister Patricia Arab will be the minister of this merged department in addition to her role as Minister of Communications Nova Scotia.

Sandra Cascadden will become associate deputy minister, digital health at Health and Wellness, moving from the associate deputy minister and chief information officer positions at Internal Services. Ms. Cascadden will oversee implementation of the One Person, One Record project.

Kelliann Dean will become CEO of the Office of Immigration in addition to her role as deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank all of our senior officials for taking on these important roles,” said Premier McNeil. “These changes will refresh the senior ranks and focus on improved client service, building stronger communities and partnerships and delivering on the priorities of Nova Scotians.”

Changes are effective Monday, June 3.

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