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News release: Open letter to the Nova Scotia Health Authority – We need a client-centered system

It has come to our attention that the position of Senior Director (Provincial) Mental Health and Addictions for the Nova Scotia Health Authority is being vacated in the Spring. We are writing to you today to urge you to hire a candidate with the leadership skills and proven experience that will create a client-centered mental health and addiction system in NS. A client-centered system is one that deals with each client individually and bases services and treatment around what is best for that person – which is not how our current system operates.

It is known that wait-list times in NS are at an all-time high and that it is a top priority for Nova Scotians. The current Director was hired by the VP from her own district in Cape Breton despite having the worst performance, as a director, on wait times three years ago. Wait times are the public’s top priority and therefore should have been the Director’s top priority over the three years she was in this
position – instead of planning and standardizing services (standardization is the opposite of a client-centered system). Why would the CEO allow such critical decisions to be made and completely
ignore the good of the public?

We are requesting that the Board of Directors and CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority be transparent and accountable in the hiring of the next Senior Director and that the candidate hired have a proven track record of being a leader in lowering wait times and also be a client-centered system expert. You are likely aware that NS has a client-centered system expert that has been hired, over the last year, to consult with other provinces (all of Atlantic Canada except for Nova Scotia) as to what changes to make to address wait times, among many other pertinent issues. Why has the current management team not used this expert in NS?

The people of NS have lost their trust in the Board, the CEO and the executive leadership team to make the best decisions in the public’s best interest. We now have the opportunity to change the way people
living with mental health and addiction issues are treated when they are in crisis and ask for help and also to be a leader in how people are treated with mental health and addictions issues in Canada.

We would like a detailed response from the Board and CEO on how you are going to move forward and address the current crisis we are facing in mental health and addiction services in our province.


Submitted by members of a mental health and addictions peer support group in Halifax who wish to remain anonymous.