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Premier announces changes at the senior leadership level

Press Release

26 January 2024

FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Blaine Higgs announced changes to the senior ranks of the provincial public service today.

“This team of deputy ministers has the right combination of skills and experience to lead the change our government wants to see,” said Higgs. “I am confident that the experience this leadership team offers will enable our government to realize our goals and help us continue building New Brunswick to benefit all residents.

“I expect this team to drive the delivery of programs and services, achieve excellence across the public service and help the government be accountable to New Brunswickers.”

Cade Libby becomes the deputy minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development. He will also retain his position as deputy minister of Indigenous Affairs.

Joel Dickinson, a longtime civil servant and deputy chief operating officer within the Executive Council Office, takes on additional responsibility as president of the Regional Development Corporation.

After acting in the role for several months, Charbel Awad becomes the deputy minister of Environment and Local Government.

All changes are effective Jan. 29.

“I thank the deputies for agreeing to take on the challenges of new assignments,” said Higgs. “They have all demonstrated their professionalism and leadership throughout their careers and I know this dedication will continue as they take on new responsibilities.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a complete list of deputy ministers, deputy heads and presidents of Part I Crown corporations (*denotes a change or addition):

  • Cheryl Hansen, chief operating officer, clerk of the Executive Council, head of the public service, deputy minister of Finance and Treasury Board, deputy minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, secretary to Treasury Board, and secretary to cabinet
  • Paul D’Astous, chief of staff, Office of the Premier
  • Nicolle Carlin, deputy minister of Strategic Initiatives and Communications, Office of the Premier
  • Cade Libby*, deputy minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development and deputy minister of Indigenous Affairs
  • Charbel Awad*, deputy minister of Environment and Local Government
  • Cathy LaRochelle, deputy minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
  • Ryan Donaghy, deputy minister of Education and Early Childhood Development (anglophone sector)
  • Julie Mason, deputy minister of Education and Early Childhood Development (francophone sector) (acting)
  • Eric Beaulieu, deputy minister of Health and deputy minister responsible for Women’s Equality
  • Traci Simmons, deputy minister of Economic Development and Small Business and CEO of Opportunities NB
  • Daniel Mills, deputy minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour
  • Michael Comeau, deputy minister of Justice and Public Safety, and deputy attorney general
  • Jim Mehan, deputy minister of Social Development
  • Yennah Hurley, deputy minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
  • Rob Taylor, deputy minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Joel Dickinson*, president of the Regional Development Corporation
  • Alan Roy, CEO of Service New Brunswick
  • Paul Greene, deputy minister of Corporate Communications, Executive Council Office

Media Contact(s)

Corporate communications, Executive Council Office,


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