Department of Health and Wellness: About us

What we do

The Department of Health and Wellness oversees healthcare throughout the province to help people maintain and improve their health. We fund healthcare services and help ensure that high-quality health services are accessible. We also promote health and wellbeing, work to reduce health risks and lead healthcare policy, legislation and standards.

We support Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and IWK Health Centre (IWK) so they can provide healthcare and help create healthier communities. We also administer healthcare programs, including Emergency Health Services (EHS), Seniors’ and Family Pharmacare and 811 telecare.

The department’s also responsible for the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment.


We're responsible for:

  • setting policy direction, priorities and standards for healthcare
  • funding health services that provide access to care
  • accountability for funding, measuring and monitoring the performance of the healthcare system
  • overseeing the province’s 2 health authorities: Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and IWK Health Centre (IWK)
  • leading program development for the prevention and control of communicable diseases

Who we are

The Department of Health and Wellness has about 250 staff located mostly in Halifax, with regional support staff in the 4 health zones.


Our priorities are:

  • expanding access to primary care
  • supporting mental health and addictions services
  • addressing specialist and surgical wait times (for example, orthopedic wait times)
  • improving healthcare infrastructure, including investments in the QEII New Generation and Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) Health Care Redevelopment projects