FREDERICTON (CNB) – Premier David Alward today announced a structural reorganization to improve performance and lend greater efficiency to the management of provincial government resources.

"We have initiated an unprecedented process of government renewal with the aim of reversing our province’s fiscal decline,” said Alward. “We simply cannot continue conducting the business of government the same way. Government Renewal aims to change the overall culture of government."

Launched earlier this year, Government Renewal is designed to ensure the provincial government can provide appropriate, affordable and sustainable services to New Brunswickers.

As part of this exercise, budgeting, human resources, information management and accountability functions will be integrated as a new Management Board within the Executive Council Office.

The board has been established to better align existing resources, focusing provincial government efforts on core services, accountability and continuous performance improvement.

"New Brunswickers have told us they want the provincial government to deliver services in a more efficient and effective way," Alward said. "The integration of these planning functions is an important, crucial step toward achieving that goal."

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs will take on expanded responsibilities as minister responsible for the Management Board. Douglas Holt, acting deputy minister of energy and acting president of the New Brunswick Energy Efficiency Agency (Efficiency NB), becomes its deputy minister.

The  establishment of the Management Board has led to the following appointments and reassignments:

●    The Department of Finance will continue to play a significant role in shaping the provincial government's financial and economic environment. Higgs will deliver the provincial government's budget to the legislative assembly next spring and will continue to be responsible for tax and fiscal policy, treasury functions and the Office of the Comptroller.

●    Jane Garbutt, an assistant deputy minister of finance, has been named deputy minister of finance, replacing the outgoing deputy minister, Michael Ferguson. Garbutt has held a variety of senior positions with the provincial government, including assistant deputy minister of wellness and sport; executive director of tourism and parks; and acting executive director of Business New Brunswick. She holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of New Brunswick.

●    The Budget and Financial Management Branch of the Department of Finance is being transferred to the Management Board and will continue to be led by Assistant Deputy Minister Keith MacNevin.

●    The Office of Human Resources will be moved under the Management Board, where it will be led by Assistant Deputy Minister Brian Durelle.

●    The role of chief information officer is being broadened and strengthened. The new chief information officer, Christian Couturier, formerly director general of the National Research Council Canada, will play a key role in shaping the provincial government's innovation and research agenda. Additionally, he will be responsible for improving traditional information management and ensuring the provincial government is making the most effective and efficient use of existing and emerging technologies. The Corporate Information Management Services Branch of the Department of Supply and Services will be transferred to the Management Board.

●    Phil LePage, deputy minister of natural resources will assume additional responsibilities as acting deputy minister of energy and acting president of Efficiency NB.

"I am pleased to announce these changes, and I feel confident that this team will provide New Brunswick with the leadership we need to bring our province back to fiscal health, improve performance and shift our efforts toward a more focused, efficient and effective system of program and service delivery," Alward said. "I also thank Michael Ferguson for his years of service to the people of New Brunswick. I wish him the very best in his new role as auditor general of Canada."