Simon Kennedy is Deputy Minister of Health, a position he has held since January 2015. Since he joined the department, Health Canada has taken on a national leadership role in responding to the opioids crisis; negotiated agreements with the provinces and territories to allocate $11 billion in new funding to home care and mental health services; and launched important reforms to pharmaceutical pricing, nutrition labelling, vaping, and tobacco product packaging. Mr. Kennedy has also overseen Health Canada’s leadership of the government’s initiative to legalize and regulate cannabis, including passage of the Cannabis Act.
Mr. Kennedy began his career with the public service in 1990 and has served in a variety of progressively senior roles in seven different organizations, including in five deputy minister-level appointments at the Privy Council Office, Industry Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and Health Canada. He served as the Prime Minister’s personal representative, or “Sherpa”, to the G 20 from 2012 to 2014.
He holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Master of Science in Communications Management from Syracuse University, and is a graduate of INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme. Mr. Kennedy also received his ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and is co-chair of the ICD Ottawa Chapter. He is a board member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, among several other organizations.