2007 Recipients - Award of Excellence

2007 Recipients


Award Winners

Back row: Andrew Bagnall, Dr. Toby Balch, Marshall Giles, Alan McNeill, Cory Aldous, Geordie MacLachlan, Lewis Clancey, Mark TeKamp

Middle row: Noreen Campbell, Belinda Cox, Sharon Davis-Murdoch, Pamela Kachafanas, Valerie MacPhee

Front row: Arlene Tobin, Janice Pottie, Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, Minister Jamie Muir, John Soosaar, Charles Weir, Jr.

Missing: Cyril Boudreau, Robert Gordon


Winners of the second annual Premier's Award of Excellence are:

Group Intake Team,
Sydney Supreme Court Family Division Redesign,
Department of Justice

The process of conciliation in the Family Division at the Sydney Justice Centre has traditionally been fraught with significant delay. In response to these delays, employees at the Justice Centre, on their own initiative, undertook a grassroots approach to redesign delivery of the family law program. The results have been dramatic reductions in client waiting time, improved assisted negotiation services and high client satisfaction.

Delays have now been reduced to under two weeks, where clients once waited up to four months for an appointment. The Intake Team displayed innovation and creativity in forcing a major change in the delivery of service in the Sydney Justice Centre. The team has improved and simplified processes by now holding group sessions with applicants and respondents to discuss information, legal advice and document disclosure, instead of numerous individual meetings.

The desire for service excellence drove these major changes and continues to be reflected in the services delivered by the Intake Team.

Team Members:

  • Valerie MacPhee
  • Noreen Ann Marie Campbell
  • Janice Pottie
  • Belinda Cox
  • Arlene A.Tobin
  • Pamela Kachafanas

Dr. Robert Gordon,
Dean of Research, Canada Research Chair
Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Department of Agriculture

Robert Gordon has dedicated his career to the public service of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic region by implementing creative and innovative solutions to problems in agriculture and the environment. He has made numerous contributions to applied research, outreach programs, environmental training and education, environmental improvements in the agriculture sector and the development of government programs and services in resource management. Also, Roberts reputation as a leading authority on climate-related issues is well known throughout Canada.

In 1996, Robert took on the challenge of providing an environmental audit service for farmers. The result is the Nova Scotia Environmental Farm Plan Program that includes more than 925 farms across the province. This program is now recognized nationally as the standard by which other programs are measured.

The passion brought to his work, and the desire to make a difference shown by Robert in delivering quality research and outreach programs, and his keen interest in teaching and mentoring young people in Nova Scotia, is second to none.

Charles Weir, Jr.,
Industrial Relations Officer,
Department of Environment and Labour

As a conciliator, Charles Weirs primary role is to act as a neutral third party to assist employers and unions that have reached an impasse in contract negotiations. Charles plays a critical role in the bargaining process because he is tasked with meeting the parties when they are normally resistant to reaching a deal and have become entrenched in their respective positions.

His success is evidenced by the many acknowledgment letters received from clients voicing their appreciation of his contribution to the positive outcomes in bargaining. Between June 1999 and October 2006, Charles logged 6,222 hours in direct conciliation with clients and 744 hours in grievance mediation. In addition to conciliation during collective bargaining, he has mediated 91 grievance disputes and has an established success rate of more than 85%.

Charles Weir demonstrates his commitment to service excellence and professionalism in every conciliation/mediation case, and training session he is assigned, and is recognized by the private and public sector union and management clients as one of the best conciliators in the business.

Sharon Davis-Murdoch, Senior Policy Analyst,
Primary Health Care Diversity and Social Inclusion in Primary Health Care Initiative,
Department of Health

The vision for primary health care is one in which communities can improve their health in a system that meets their needs. This means ensuring equitable access to those people who have traditionally faced barriers.

Sharon Davis-Murdoch proposed, developed and managed the Diversity and Social Inclusion in Primary Health Care Initiative, to begin to address the needs of culturally diverse populations in Nova Scotia. This is the only provincial initiative of its kind in Canada. Outcomes of the initiative include educational resources to assist stakeholders - including providers, District Health Authorities, Community Health Boards, primary health care organizations and the public to understand diversity, inclusion and exclusion, and the need for the development of cultural competence in the primary health care system.

Sharon has demonstrated her passion for social justice throughout her policy career. Sharons superb leadership, and her dedication to seeing her vision come into being have been paramount to the success of this initiative.

John Soosaar, Communications Advisor
Wabanaki; People of the Dawn Video Documentary,
Office of Aboriginal Affairs

In the summer of 2004, a major archaeological site in the Mersey River in Queens County, Nova Scotia was discovered, when Emera reduced the rivers water level for the first time in 75 years in order to maintain six dams in the area. During that summer, over 20,000 artifacts, dating back 8,000 years, were discovered on the river bottom. It was a massive find providing an important touch point to the Mikmaw peoples rich history and culture in the Atlantic region.

John Soosaar immediately saw this historic find as having huge potential for the Mikmaw community - historically, culturally and economically, and worked closely with the Mikmaw community to seek feedback and create a video documentary of the archeological site. In particular, John saw the documentary as an important tool to help raise public interest in the story of Mikmaw history and culture.

John also developed a communications strategy for the video documentary aimed to ensure promotional opportunities around the film are maximized and promote, among all key audiences, that the Aboriginal community is comprised of extraordinarily talented individuals and leaders.

Environmental Monitoring Program Team,
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture

In just three years, the Environmental Monitoring Program Team has implemented the first comprehensive environmental monitoring program for more than 330 marine aquaculture sites throughout Nova Scotia. Baseline data has been established by collecting more than 1,400 sediment samples from more than 500 stations in some 40 different bays. This data now acts as a guide for assessing environmental risk of aquaculture operations and will go a long way to ensure that aquaculture is environmentally sustainable in Nova Scotia.

The Environmental Monitoring Program is recognized as innovative and effective by other jurisdictions and is one of the few monitoring programs that samples diverse aquaculture sites in a variety of marine ecosystems. This is not only the first time such a program has been carried out in Nova Scotia, but is also the first time that empirical evidence exists on an industry-wide scale. The Environmental Monitoring Teams work has generated interest from across Canada, and as far away as Chile and Norway.

Team Members:

  • Marshall F. Giles
  • Dr. Toby Balch
  • Allan J. McNeill
  • Cyril Boudreau
  • Andrew Bagnall
  • Cory Aldous
  • Geordie MacLachlan
  • Mark TeKamp
  • Lewis Clancey

Details about the 2008 Premier's Award of Excellence will be communicated in the fall of 2007.