Reports that the province's finance minister is preparing to leave politics may have surprised the public, but sources say it has been in the works for some time.

Jerome Kennedy has apparently been planning to leave politics for a while, and Premier Kathy Dunderdale has been aware of his intentions.

High-level government and Tory party sources told CBC News that Kennedy and Dunderdale have discussed at length his intentions to return to practising law, where he first made a name for himself before turning to politics.

The timing of his departure is no coincidence; Kennedy was the government's key negotiator during talks with public-sector unions.

Tentative deals with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees and the Canadian Union of Public Employees have been reached, and government is said to be close to an agreement with the Association of Allied Professionals, so an end to Kennedy's time in politics is drawing near.

His departure will force Dunderdale to shuffle her cabinet, as Kennedy has been the force behind tough files such as Muskrat Falls and this year's austerity budget, which promised to cut a cabinet minister.

Neither Kennedy nor Dunderdale were available for comment.