Health and Community Services

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About the Department

The Department of Health and Community Services provides a lead role in policy, planning, program development, and support to the four regional health authorities and other mandated health and community service agencies. The department also monitors and provides feedback as appropriate to the regional health authorities and agencies with respect to program implementation, accountability issues and health and community outcomes.

The department ensures the province benefits from best practices, standards and guidelines prevalent in other jurisdictions through representing the health interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in all intergovernmental discussions, initiatives and agreements and by partnering and collaborating with other departments of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, governments in other jurisdictions and the Federal Government.

The department is the lead in the multi-departmental initiatives for Wellness, Healthy Aging, and Mental Health and Addictions, and is a participant in the multi-departmental initiatives for Violence Prevention, Immigration Strategy, and Poverty Reduction.

The department is accountable for 41 pieces of legislation and all the orders and regulations made under those Acts. It is accountable to ensure budget controls are in place and adhered to by the regional health authorities and other agencies.


The following is an overview of the Department of Health and Community Services, which has a mandate to provide leadership and direction for effective and efficient delivery of health and community services:


The vision of the Department of Health and Community Services is for individuals, families and communities to achieve optimal health and well-being.


By March 31, 2017, the Department of Health and Community Services will have provided leadership to support an enhanced health care system that effectively serves the people of the province and helps them achieve optimal health and well-being.


The department’s core values were redefined in its Strategic Plan 2011-2014 (add link). These values are reflected daily as employees fulfill their roles and responsibilities in working with clients and stakeholders and are a key element of the department’s culture. They include:

Each person is qualified and competent, and supported in their work through a culture that encourages continuing education and employee development.

Each person makes decisions based on the best evidence available and follows proven best practices to ensure individual and departmental performance is maintained at the highest possible standard.

Transparency and Accountability
Each person takes their responsibilities to their clients seriously and contributes to a culture of openness and transparency in decision-making and reporting.

Each person engages others, both within and external to the department, in a positive manner, respectful of others and their different perspectives.

Each person manages and protects information related to persons, families, organizations, communities and the department appropriately.

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Lines of Business:

  1. Policy, Planning, Program Development and Support
    The department provides a leadership role for developing policies, legislation and plans in the following areas:
    1. Programs under a legislative framework
      • Communicable diseases
      • Environmental health (including tobacco control, drinking water quality and sanitation)
      • Hospital Insurance Plan
      • Medical Care Plan (MCP)
      • Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program
      • Personal care homes
      The department is also responsible for 17 pieces of legislation related to the regulation of health professions. The department works with regulatory bodies to interpret the legislation and regulations and to facilitate amendments as necessary.

    2. Programs not under a legislative framework
      • Aboriginal health
      • Chronic disease control
      • Emergency preparedness
      • Health sector workforce planning
      • Immunizations
      • Intervention and support services for persons with disabilities
      • Long-term care and community support services
      • Mental health and addictions services
      • Parent and child health
      • Wellness and health promotion
    3. Programs for which the department establishes funding and/or operational delivery standards:
      • Ambulance services
      • Clinical Safety Reporting System
      • Dental Program
      • Home support
      • Medical Transportation Assistance Program
      • Residential services for persons with select disabilities
      • Special Assistance Program
      • Special Child Welfare Allowance
      • Transition houses
    4. The department works with the post-secondary education system to ensure that professional education and training programs for the health and community services field reflect the needs of the system. The department also provides funding for select training programs.
    5. The department ensures that regional health and community services are planned according to the needs of the population; the strategic directions of the provincial government; and, within the fiscal capacity of the health system. This includes determining the need for, and placement of infrastructure, equipment, services and staff.
    6. The department represents provincial priorities in the development of intergovernmental (Atlantic and federal/provincial/territorial) strategic directions and initiatives.
    7. The department works with the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information to obtain health information and research, conduct program evaluations and develop electronic health information systems.
  2. Monitoring and Reporting
    Regular monitoring and evaluation of legislation, programs, plans and funding outcomes are important to maintain the effectiveness of the health and community services system.
    1. The department monitors and evaluates:
      • Adherence to guidelines and best practices and/or funding and service delivery standards;
      • Health and community services legislation;
      • Implementation of funding and outcomes for regional health authorities and other entities funded by the department; and
      • Selected policies, programs and services.
    2. In addition, the department has made commitments to publicly report on several areas that it monitors. These areas are as follows:
      • Access to services
      • Disease control
      • Health status
      • Healthy behaviors
      • Human resources
      • Population health
  3. Provincial Public Programs and Services Administration
    While the department does not directly deliver most health care services, there are some programs for which the department provides direct supervision, control, and service delivery as follows:
    • Bursaries and incentives to students in select training programs according to established criteria
    • Distribution and storage of vaccines
    • Grants for select community agencies
    • Medical transportation assistance to eligible individuals
    • Payment and remuneration for medical services, dental services, drug programs, and other similar programs
    • Printing, storage and distribution of health related materials
    • Records of immunizations
    • Selected information technology initiatives
    • Storage and distribution of National Emergency Stockpile

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