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Leading by example – and with the support of the community

leadingbyexampleSeveral years ago, a number of communities in Cape Breton found themselves in an unusual, and smoky, situation. The merger of several communities to form the Cape Breton District Municipality meant that there was no longer a by-law in place to address smoking in public places. The local health authority decided to tackle that problem – and in the process, lead the way for the rest of Nova Scotia.

L-R: Dr. M Naqvi, Medical Director & Chief of Staff and Mr. Don Ferguson, Former Board Chair, Cape Breton District Health Authority

Three key lessons were learned, says John Malcom, CEO of the Cape Breton District Health Authority. “First,” he stresses, “you have to have a commitment to leadership.

You have to be willing to stand up and take the criticism.”

Staff at the district health authority stood tall and made it a priority to get an effective, and comprehensive, smoking by-law in place for their community. Medical staff even got on the phone with local councillors to convince them that the proposed new by-law – at the time the toughest in the province – was good for the health of the community and would not harm the health of local businesses.

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