Executive Council
May 25, 2016

Delivering Open and Transparent Government

Government Proposes Members of the Independent Appointments Commission in the House of Assembly

The Honourable Andrew Parsons, Government House Leader, introduced a resolution today in the House of Assembly proposing the names of the individuals who will form the inaugural Independent Appointments Commission. This follows on the passing of Bill 1, which supports the creation of a merit-based appointment process for agencies, boards, and commissions for the first time in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The creation of a merit-based appointment process ensures that appointments are made in an open, transparent and accountable manner and serve the best interests of our province. It allows for one of the most open, non-partisan appointment processes in Canada. To support its implementation, five highly qualified and respected individuals have been proposed to the House of Assembly for a debate and vote among members."
- Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

The proposed members of the inaugural Independent Appointments Commission are:

  • Hon. Clyde K. Wells, B.A., LL.B, LL.D (Hon), QC - Chair
  • M. Zita Cobb
  • Shannie Duff
  • Philip R. Earle
  • Derek Young

These individuals will serve a three-year term. Their biographies are included in the Backgrounder.

"The candidates have a variety of backgrounds, as well as significant industry, social and economic experiences. This will undoubtedly benefit government and the people of the province as we ensure the most qualified individuals fill available positions within agencies, boards and commissions. I would like to thank each of them for volunteering their time to a process that will considerably improve how appointments are made in our province."
- Premier Ball

To support increased openness and transparency, a website will be created that includes terms and vacancies of available opportunities and allow people to apply online. Appointments will also be published on the new website and in a report submitted annually to the House of Assembly. In addition, an order-in-council will be available online for appointments made through this process by Cabinet.

The merit based appointment process will include the Independent Appointments Commission recommending three individuals to Cabinet for vacancies that arise at approximately 30 tier one government organizations, which are larger organizations with greater decision making responsibilities and budgets. For 128 tier two organizations, the Public Service Commission will review applications and provide a list to ministers of individuals qualified for appointment.


  • Premier Ball introduced a resolution proposing individuals who will make-up the Independent Appointments Commission today in the House of Assembly.
  • The five people proposed to make-up the Independent Appointments Commission are Clyde K. Wells, M. Zita Cobb, Shannie Duff, Philip R. Earle and Derek Young. Mr. Wells will serve as chair.
  • For the first time, Newfoundland and Labrador will have a merit-based appointment process in place for agencies, boards and commissions.
  • All Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will now have the opportunity to apply for a position on an agency, board or commission and to be considered on their skills, qualifications and experiences.
  • The Public Service Commission will work with the Women's Policy Office to develop targeted initiatives to address any identified representation needs.

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Media contacts:

Nancy O'Connor
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
Erin Curran
Communications Specialist
Office of the Premier

Proposed Members of the Independent Appointments Commission

Hon. Clyde K. Wells, B.A., LL.B, LL.D (Hon), QC
Clyde Wells has had an extensive legal and political career. A graduate of Dalhousie Law School, Mr. Wells built a thriving legal practice before serving as the fifth Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1989-1996. Mr. Wells has served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (Court of Appeal) and was appointed Chief Justice of the province in 1999, a position he held until 2009. Mr. Wells remained as a supernumerary justice of the appellate court until his full retirement from the bench in November 2012. Mr. Wells now practices as Counsel with Cox & Palmer, where he is also Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Wells will serve as chair of the Independent Appointments Commission.

M. Zita Cobb
Zita Cobb is Chief Executive Officer and founder of the Shorefast Foundation, which uses a social entrepreneurship model to contribute to cultural and economic resiliency for Fogo Island. Its most significant projects to date are the Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island Arts, Fogo Island Shop and Fogo Island Fish. Ms. Cobb has considerable experience in the telecommunications industry and has received Honourary Doctorates from Memorial University, Carleton University and McGill University, as well as a Honourary Fellowship from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Dr. Gill Chin Lim Global Award.

Shannie Duff
Shannie Duff served on St. John's City Council from 1997 to 2013 where she served as Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillor-at-Large. She also briefly served as a member of the House of Assembly. Throughout her municipal career, she has been a strong advocate of developing strong and sustainable communities. Ms. Duff has been a champion for affordable housing, inner city revitalization, heritage conservation and environmental sustainability. Ms. Duff has been inducted into the Order of Canada and Order of Newfoundland and Labrador and received a honourary doctor of laws degree from Memorial University. She has also received the Anne MacLean Award of Excellence by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities

Philip R. Earle
Philip Earle is a business partner and Chief Executive Officer of Air Labrador Limited, an Inuit-owned company. While growing the company, Mr. Earle has placed considerable focus on building human resource capacity by promoting Labrador Inuit to key positions. Mr.Earle's background is steeped in rural and indigenous communities where he has built strong knowledge and experience through working with aboriginal leaders and understanding their culture and values. Mr. Earle also serves on the Board of Directors of the Air Transport Association of Canada and Destination Labrador.

Derek Young
Derek Young was the Ford franchise dealer for 31 years operating four locations on the province's west coast and in southern Labrador. Mr. Young was the first chairman of the Ford Motor Company National Roundtable Board consisting of Ford Motor Company and Ford dealer representatives and also served two years as a Director on the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association of Canada and two years as President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Dealers Association. Mr. Young received MacLean's magazine's Newfoundland and Labrador Dealer of Excellence Award in 1996. He also served as chair of the Western Memorial Regional Hospital Foundation for six years.

2016 05 25                              4:00 p.m.