Nfld. & Labrador

Dwight Ball shakes up civil service, combines some departments

Premier Dwight Ball has shrunk the number of government departments and eliminated some of the top jobs in the civil service.

Government hires back deputy minister embroiled in breast cancer testing scandal

Premier Dwight Ball announced big changes to government departments and agencies in a news release Wednesday. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Premier Dwight Ball has shrunk the number of government departments and eliminated some of the top jobs in the civil service.

Five deputy minister roles are being eliminated, and some agencies are being rolled into government departments.

"By implementing this new structure we are continuing to adapt to our fiscal climate, with the goal of setting this province on a stronger economic footing," Ball said in a news release Wednesday.

Child Youth and Family Services is being combined with Seniors Wellness and Social Development to form the new department of Children, Seniors and Social Development.

The Forestry and Agrifoods Agency will now combine with Fisheries and Aquaculture to form the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods.

The Labour Relations Agency will now be combined with Advanced Education and Skills.

Responsibility for climate change will now fall under the Department of Environment and Climate change.

The premier was travelling in Labrador and not available to comment on the changes Wednesday.

The moves come after Ball has made extensive changes to his own office, replacing many of his senior political staff.

John Abbott is back as deputy minister of health, a job he held during the breast cancer testing scandal

One of the new deputy ministers hired is John Abbott, who was formerly the deputy minister of health during the breast cancer testing scandal. He testified during the Cameron Inquiry that then-Premier Danny Williams wanted him out of the department and rather than take a position in another department he quit, and went into private consulting.

Abbott admitted during his testimony that he didn't include his own minister on a key memo to the premier about the issues around breast cancer testing.

He's now back as the top bureaucrat in the Department of Health and Community Services.