July 27, 2000
Premier announces regionalization of government services
Premier Brian Tobin today announced that approximately 275 positions with nine provincial government departments will be relocated to various communities outside St. John�s. It is intended that the moves will be completed by June 30, 2001.
"Not only does regionalization of services make government more accessible in different parts of the province, it also helps to more evenly distribute the economic benefits of government to more communities, " said Premier Tobin. "We examined the functions of various departments, and have determined that certain services can be operated as well in any number of locations around the province."
The relocations include:
Gander (47 positions):
Grand Falls-Windsor (63 positions):
Corner Brook (100 positions):
Stephenville (31 positions):
Marystown (18 positions)
Deer Lake (19 positions)
An Assistant Deputy Minister - Operations will be appointed within the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods to oversee operations on the West Coast.
"Relocating the entirety of the services of Forest Resources and Agrifoods on the West Coast of the province makes sense," said Premier Tobin. "The majority of this province�s forestry and agriculture industries are located in that region. These relocations place the resources of the departments nearer to their clients."
Government intends to implement these decisions as soon as possible, but final moves will be completed by June 2001 which will allow sufficient time for planning and related activities. Departmental officials have been directed to work out the details of implementation over the coming weeks and months. This will include discussions with employees and their union representatives.
Media contact: Heidi Bonnell, Communications, (709) 729-3960.
The Portfolio Management Division is responsible for the management and monitoring of all accounts established under financial investment programs of the Department of Development and Rural Renewal and its predecessor agencies. As such, it is responsible for all accounting activity associated with the new Small Business Seed Capital Equity Program, the new Business and Market Development Program, the former Fisheries Loan Board, the Fisheries Loan Guarantee Program, the Farm Development Loan Board, the Aquaculture Working Capital Fund, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, and DDRR�S Strategic Enterprise Development Fund. The division also is responsible for collections activity associated with fisheries loan accounts.
The division is responsible for approximately 3,775 accounts. The
portfolio has a current value of approximately $153 million.
The division�s staff of 12 will relocate to Marystown.
Most of the day-to-day contact with clients and DDRR field staff is conducted by telephone and mail. From that perspective, client contact can be maintained from anywhere within the province. Collections activity is provided by both head office and regional offices/staff.
All accounts are linked through a central computer system, with hook-ups to all field offices. From this perspective, the work performed can be done at any centre in the province where appropriate telecommunications links are available.
Media contact: Josephine Cheeseman, Communications, (709) 729-4570.
A total of 31 positions will move to Stephenville. It is not necessary for this service to be located in St. John�s. It could be located in a number of areas outside the capital city. The relocation is part of the government�s plan to assist the economy of areas outside the capital region of the province.
Media contact: Viki O�Dea, Communications, (709) 729-1906,
Media contact: Sonia Glover-Sullivan, Communications, (709) 729-3733.
The Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods has the responsibility for the management of forest, wildlife, inland fish and agrifood resources in the province. Resource programs are delivered through a network of regional and district offices throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The department has a presence in virtually every corner of the province. Program delivery at the regional and district level is currently supported by three headquarters functions, including:
Relocation of the Wildlife & Inland Fish and Agrifoods Headquarters to Corner Brook will consolidate all headquarter functions in one location. Managerial and operational efficiencies will be achieved as a result.
Wildlife & Inland Fish Branch
The branch has the responsibility for management of big game, small game, inland fish and endangered species. Staff are also responsible for enforcement of wildlife regulations as well as public awareness and education. Relocation of these functions to Corner Brook will permit a further integration with the department�s forestry mandate, which is already located in Corner Brook.
The department has adopted an eco-system based approach to the management of our outdoor resources. Ecosystem management strategies take values into consideration including forestry, wildlife, fish, rare plants, eco-tourism potential and recreational use. The consolidation of Wildlife & Inland Fish and Forestry Headquarters into one location will strengthen the department�s ecosystem management philosophy.
The Agrifoods Branch is responsible for management and development of the agrifood sector. Staff provide a full range of services including land and soil management, animal health, farm business advice, insurance programs and marketing.
Agrifood production is spread throughout the province with potential for further significant development in rural areas. As potential for further development was highlighted during consultations on the Jobs and Growth Strategy, relocation of these services to Corner Brook will strengthen the department�s capacity to focus its efforts on rural agrifood development.
The necessary resources will be maintained on the east coast of the province to ensure services in that region does not diminish as a result of the movement of to Corner Brook
Media contact: Cynthia Layden-Barron, Communications, (709) 729-6183.
Media contact: Rick Callahan, Communications, (709) 729-4860.
The Medical Care Plan program (MCP) was merged with the operations of the Department of Health and Community Services effective April 1, 2000. The MCP offices are currently located in Elizabeth Towers in St. John�s. Government�s plan to move this service to Grand Falls-Windsor will require the relocation of 46 positions.
MCP processes claims submitted by fee-for-service physicians for insured medical services provided to beneficiaries, provides for the subsidization of insured dental services to all children up to and including age 12. MCP cards are issued to the public through the public services division.
The processing of physician and dental claims is primarily done electronically. Public Services are provided through a counter service in St. John�s and also using the mail system. Accordingly, it was government�s view that this type of public service could be delivered effectively from any region within the province.
MCP has very high standards for security given the type of personal health information which is stored on-site. These types of security procedures will be maintained in the new location so that physicians, dentists, and the public can be confident that the personal health information which they supply will be kept secure and confidential.
Media contact: Carl Cooper, Communications, (709) 729-1377.
Media contact: Glenn Bruce, Communications, (709) 729-1983.
The Parks and Natural Areas Division of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is responsible for providing a diverse range of protected areas programs and outdoor recreation opportunities, province-wide, for residents and tourists alike.
The protected areas programs include the planning and management of the province�s 13 provincial parks and its ecological reserves program; the Canadian Heritage River Designation program and support to Parks Canada for the establishment of National and Marine Parks; and, natural areas planning for the province. The division is also responsible for all matters related Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Program (WERAC).
Operation of provincial parks involves instilling an awareness and appreciation for the natural and cultural heritage of provincial parks, educating visitors on the resources of the park system, providing the public with visitor information about the parks system and encouraging visitor participation in programs which will increase their recreational experience and opportunities. This includes provincial parks such as Barachois, Butter Pot and Sir Richard Squires, where the division is responsible for maintaining an acceptable health and safety standard for the public, providing opportunities for quality outdoor recreation in a natural environment.
There are 13 provincial parks and a network of ecological reserves located throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and as such the division is not tied to one particular location and is both flexible and mobile. Placing the management and administrative section of this division in Deer Lake will centralize operations and provide staff with easy access to parks and natural areas throughout the province. Also this location will provide enhanced opportunities for consultation on protected areas planning and management issues between this division and the Forestry and Wildlife division, which will now be located in Corner Brook.
The Parks and Natural Areas division in St. John�s, slated to be moved to Deer Lake has 12 employees.
Media contact: Elizabeth Matthews, Communications, (709) 729-0928.
Works, Services and Transportation will be moving its Air Services division, with the exception of its air ambulance service, from its base at St. John�s International Airport to a new location at Gander International Airport. Air Services currently fulfills a three-fold function:
1. Operation and maintenance of the provincial water bomber fleet, consisting of six CL-215 aircraft.
2. Operation and maintenance of the province�s air ambulance service (King Air 350).
3. Booking and monitoring contract air charters for all government departments.
All government Air Services will be relocated to Gander with the exception of the province�s air ambulance service. The move will result in the transfer of 31 staff to Gander, including administration staff, maintenance staff, pilots and store operations staff. The 16 crew members associated with the province�s six water bombers will now be based out of Gander, along with air dispatch and all related administration services. Six pilots and three maintenance staff will remain in St. John�s to operate the King Air 350. A total of 47 people will be headquartered out of Gander.
This move demonstrates government�s commitment to building on the province�s strong infrastructure in rural areas of the province. Gander is first and foremost an airport town. It makes good sense to operate government Air Services from a more central location, building on the region�s strong air infrastructure. The new location should also improve the response time and service to the people of the province. As it is, Air Service�s operations are not site specific and can operate anywhere, but Gander is clearly the best choice.
Basing the province�s air fleet in Gander means that the dispatch of government aircraft, including water bombers and contract charters, will occur from Gander. As well, winter maintenance for the water bomber fleet will take place in Gander.
Media contact: David Pierce, Communications, (709) 729-2138.
2000 07 27 12:50 p.m.