Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial help and social supports
Support for individuals, families, seniors, businesses and municipalities facing hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On this page
Support for individuals, families and seniors
Domestic abuse support
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone. Support, guidance and shelter are available throughout the province.
If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.
If you need help or information about emergency shelter, safety planning and available resources, call the 24-hour toll-free line at 1-855-225-0220. You can also find community resources at 211 Nova Scotia (or call 211).
Federal support for individuals
The Government of Canada has funding and resources available for individuals, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
If you need non-emergency, non-medical help, call 211 or visit ns.211.ca. 211 is a toll-free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (in over 140 languages).
If you're accepting help from someone you don't know, remember to protect your own privacy and safety and follow these tips.
Income assistance support
There are extended hours for the toll-free line for income assistance supports, including weekends. If you have questions about eligibility for income assistance, call:
|Hours of operation||Phone number|
|Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm||Toll-free: 1-877-424-1177|
Monday to Friday 4:30 pm to 7 pm
Saturday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Mental health and wellbeing
A new virus like COVID-19 can create fear and anxiety. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get help if you need it. Learn more: mental health and wellbeing support.
The Government of Nova Scotia is covering additional dispensing fees for Pharmacare (drug coverage) program prescription refills. This covers the extra fees for prescriptions that are usually filled for longer periods and are now only being filled for 30 days at a time. Government is also waiving the $5.00 prescription co-pay for people in the Income Assistance Program and the Low Income Pharmacare for Children Program.
Red Cross Friendly Calls Program
The Friendly Calls Program provides pre-scheduled calls to individuals who are feeling isolated due to the pandemic. Callers are trained in a variety of areas, including psychological first aid. Callers can also help connect you with other support services available in your community.
Anyone 19 or older can register for the program by calling 1-833-729-0144, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Red Cross will arrange to call you at a mutually agreed time, in English or French.
Student loan payments suspended
Nova Scotia Student Loan payments are suspended until 30 September 2020. You don't need to make any payments, and your loans won't accrue interest. The suspension is automatic – you don't need to apply.
Support for businesses
Agriculture Response Program
The COVID-19 Agriculture Response Program helps Nova Scotia's agriculture industry mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry's competitiveness, productivity and profitability.
Business support website
Business support during COVID-19 provides education, training and guidance for small businesses. Community innovation leads at NSCC help connect businesses with support programs available from post-secondary institutions and other regional organizations.
Creative Industries Fund – Digital Project Grant
The Creative Industries Fund – Digital Project Grant helps businesses and organizations in the creative industries respond to the effects of COVID-19 with digital solutions.
Federal support for businesses
The Government of Canada has funding and resources available for businesses and industries.
Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is available for qualifying businesses.
Support for municipalities
Operating loans for municipalities
Loans will be available through the Municipal Finance Corporation (MFC). Municipalities will have 6 months to start repayment and 3 years to fully repay the loan.
To apply for a loan, municipalities will need to determine their revenue shortfall. The municipal council will then need to pass a resolution and submit it to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The department will analyze the request and if approved will forward the approval to the MFC. Upon approval by the MFC's board of directors the Corporation will administer a loan agreement.
You can volunteer in your community to help others during COVID-19. If you’re volunteering, make sure you’re keeping yourself and the people you’re helping safe.
Don’t volunteer if you’re sick or if you’ve been directed to self-isolate. If you’re a senior or if you’re immunocompromised, you should avoid volunteer roles that involve interacting with other people.
Contact local organizations to see if they need help or call 211.
Follow social distancing guidelines as much as you can—if you need to go in a car with someone else, have one person in the front seat and the other in the back seat. Wash or sanitize your hands often.
If you’re delivering groceries or other items for other people, follow all advice for safe shopping. Call ahead to let them know when you’ll drop their things outside their door. Don’t enter their home unless you have to. If you must go inside, remember to follow social distancing guidelines and try not to touch anything in their home.
COVID-19 volunteer opportunities
Visit Volunteer NS to find volunteer opportunities in your community and work-from-home volunteer opportunities.