Rita Notarandrea, M.H.Sc., C.H.E. was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) through a Governor in Council appointment on July 28, 2015. Ms. Notarandrea works with all levels of government as well as the not-for-profit and private sectors to ensure that addiction is recognized as a health issue, that it remains on the national agenda for action and that collective efforts are galvanized to reduce alcohol- and drug-related harms on the health of Canadians.
Before being appointed CEO, Ms. Notarandrea held the position of interim CEO for a 10-month period, and Deputy CEO for eight years. As the Deputy CEO, Ms. Notarandrea was accountable for the overall operations of CCSA. This position entailed establishing strategic and operational goals and ensuring that CCSA remained responsive to environmental trends and had the strategies and processes in place to deliver on the mission and vision of the organization and to assess performance and achievements.
CCSA has successfully led many first-ever national initiatives for Canada, including an overarching national action plan on substance abuse, a national alcohol strategy, a national workforce strategy for professionals working in the field and a national youth drug prevention strategy. These strategies represent new ways of thinking and working together to deliver practical and tangible results for Canadians, harnessing collective action for collective impact.
Prior to joining CCSA, Ms. Notarandrea enjoyed more than 22 years of leadership success in the healthcare sector. She held a number of senior positions with major health service organizations, such as the Royal Ottawa Hospital, a 207-bed psychiatric hospital, where she was Chief Operating Officer. Her expertise lies in moving from strategy to action and her accomplishments in this area relate to her leadership role in innovative approaches such as developing and implementing an innovative long-term care facility targeted specifically at those with mental illness; redeveloping the hospital through a public–private partnership; and developing new programs and services related to a renewed vision for the hospital.
Ms. Notarandrea holds an Honours B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University and a Masters in Health Sciences from the University of Toronto. She also holds a Certified Health Executive designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.