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July 27, 2000
(Executive Council)


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):

Department of Works, Services and Transportation: Air Services, excluding Air Ambulance, will relocate to Gander. This will require the relocation of 47 positions.

Grand Falls-Windsor (63 positions):

Fisheries and Aquaculture: The Aquaculture Branch, which includes 15 positions, as well as the two positions in the existing Regional Services office in Gander will now be headquartered in Grand Falls-Windsor.

Health and Community Services: MCP and its 46 positions will also relocate to Grand Falls-Windsor.

Corner Brook (100 positions):

Forest Resources and Agrifoods: Approximately 100 positions with the Inland Fish and Wildlife Branch and the Agrifoods Branch will relocate to Corner Brook, joining employees of the department who have been working in Corner Brook since 1983.

Stephenville (31 positions):

Education: The provincial headquarters of the Public Libraries Board and its 25 positions. The Western Regional Headquarters of the Provincial Library Board, and its six positions, will move to Stephenville from Corner Brook.

Marystown (18 positions)

Development and Rural Renewal: The Portfolio Management Division and its 12 positions will be located in Marystown.

Government Services and Lands: The six positions with the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation will move to Marystown.

Deer Lake (19 positions)

Municipal and Provincial Affairs: The Fire Commissioner�s Office and its seven positions.

Tourism, Culture and Recreation: 12 positions with the Parks Division will relocate to Deer Lake as well.

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.

Portfolio Management Division
Department of Development and Rural Renewal

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.
Specific activities of the division are:


Setting up accounts (loans/investments)
Processing loan transactions
Preparing financial statements/audit requirements
Distributing portfolio reports to regions and clients
Distribution of billings to clients, and responding to client enquiries


Developing and monitoring of collection policies and procedures
Monitoring revenues under Strategic Enterprise Development Fund
Monitoring delinquent accounts and developing strategies to address them
Acting on seriously defaulted accounts
Responsible for fisheries Assignment of Catch Program.


Support to regional offices/staff for account administration and collection procedures
Planning and development of financial assistance programs
Interest subsidies on fisheries and farm loans that were disbursed prior to 1990.

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.

Department of Education
The Provincial Information and Library Resources Board

  • The headquarters of the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board is located at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John�s.

  • It has an annual operating budget of $5.8-million, and is responsible for    providing library services to the province.

  • The board currently operates approximately 90 libraries.

  • The headquarters staff will be moving to Stephenville.

  • The Western Regional Headquarters of the Provincial Library Board, and its six positions will move to Stephenville from Corner Brook.

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,

Aquaculture Branch
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • The current structure within the Aquaculture Branch of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture was put in place in 1995 to actively promote and expand the opportunities within the aquaculture industry. The branch currently has 22 staff with seven deployed in the field, and consists of three main sections: Shellfish Development, Finfish Development and Licensing and Administration.

  • Since 1995, overall aquaculture production has increased from 1,029 tonnes to 4,282 tonnes in 1999. Export value increased from $3.5 million to $18-million during the same time period. Salmonid production increased from 602 tonnes to 2,478 tonnes with export value of $13.8 million, while blue mussel production increased from 404 tonnes to 1,700 tonnes with export value of $3.8-million.

  • On a geographic basis, aquaculture production has been limited to specific regions around the province. Salmonid production has been limited to Bay d�Espoir, while mussel production has been primarily in the Green Bay/Notre Dame Bay area, and more recently increased activity on the South Coast. This translates into 95 per cent of overall aquaculture production in the province.

  • The Newfoundland aquaculture industry�s strategic plan recently completed by all stakeholders recommended that the province focus its aquaculture development to four major species which offer the best opportunity for success in the short term. They are Steelhead trout, Blue mussels, Atlantic salmon and Atlantic cod. It further recommended that the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture refocus and deploy its staff to take a lead role in development and delivery of extension services.

  • By putting our services out in the field, and regionalizing the Aquaculture Branch we are providing greater access to the farmers, and in turn provide better services that assist in our ongoing efforts to expand the aquaculture industry.

  • Without a doubt, regionalization will provide the focus necessary to meet the challenges of the aquaculture industry and to move it forward to achieve full commercialization.

Media contact: Sonia Glover-Sullivan, Communications, (709) 729-3733.

Department of Forest Resources & Agrifoods

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:

               Forestry                             Corner Brook
               Wildlife & Inland Fish          Pleasantville, St. John�s
               Agrifoods                            Brookfield Road, Mount Pearl

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.

Agrifoods Branch

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.

Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation
Department of Government Services and Lands

  • The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation, established in 1991, provides deposit protection for members of credit unions in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • The corporation monitors the financial affairs of the credit union system, which has 15 credit unions and 35 offices throughout the province. The corporation also works with credit unions to resolve any deficiencies identified by its monitoring activities. The province provides the corporation with a loan guarantee to ensure that it is able to meet its obligations.

  • There are approximately 34,000 credit union members with assets in excess of $347 million.

  • The corporation reports to the Minister of Government Services and Lands. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Commercial and Corporate Affairs from this department is the chair of the corporation�s board of directors which consists of three government and three industry representatives.

  • The corporation, which has six staff members, is currently located in St. John�s.

  • The movement to Marystown will enable to the corporation to carry out its activities from a more regional location and result in improved service delivery.

  • The movement of this corporation will not have any significant negative effect on the economy of St. John�s, yet it will have a significant positive impact on Marystown.

Media contact: Rick Callahan, Communications, (709) 729-4860.

Department of Health and Community Services

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.

Fire Commissioner�s Office
Municipal and Provincial Affairs

  • The mandate of the Fire Commissioner�s Office (FCO) is to promote public safety and awareness in fire prevention and life safety, through effective fire protection and education programs; and to enhance, direct and guide government, municipal authorities, industries, fire departments and police agencies in effective delivery of vital fire protection services.

  • The legislative authority governing the functions of the FCO is the Fire Prevention Act.

  • The mandate is fulfilled through provision of programs and functions, as follows:
    - fire investigations
    - fire prevention and life safety inspections
    - assistance in establishment/organization and development of fire departments
    - education and training to career and volunteer firefighters
    - permitting/licensing of individuals to service fire protection equipment and systems
    - training in the handling of dangerous goods
    - administering firefighter certification program
    - emergency response assistance/guidance and fire ground control to fire departments
    - issuance of orders relating to building closures, life safety hazards, fire lanes, building capacity orders
    - Provincial Fire Loss Statistics and Annual Fire Loss Report
    - overseeing of plan review functions
    - regulatory sale and use of fireworks
    - assistance in development of regulations for use in all municipalities governing fire prevention and control
    - firefighter training program curriculum development

  • FCO headquarters is currently located in St. John�s. There are two sub-offices, one in Pasadena and one in Grand Falls. The existing staff complement is eight permanent positions - six in St. John�s, one in Grand Falls and one in Pasadena. One of the St. John�s positions is currently vacant.

  • The FCO will be relocated to Deer Lake.

  • The bulk of volunteer fire departments requiring most support from the FCO are located in communities that are located throughout the province, outside St. John�s.

  • The FCO will now deliver its services from a central location. The delivery of training, support and other services provided by the FCO will now be closer to those clients it serves (volunteer fire departments) and will be more responsive and efficient. As well, the relocation of offices and employees will bring with it attendant economic benefits.

Media contact: Glenn Bruce, Communications, (709) 729-1983.


Parks and Natural Areas Division
Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation

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.


Relocation of Government Air Services to Gander
Works, Services and Transportation

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.

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