1. Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  2. Financial help and social supports

Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial help and social supports

Support for individuals, families, seniors, businesses and municipalities facing hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 or text 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 Recovery Benefit (CRB).

Helpline

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 (PDF, 5.3 MB).

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.

Pharmacare changes

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.

Protection for renters

A 2% cap on rental increases for existing tenants and a ban on renovictions is in place until 1 February 2022 or until the state of emergency is lifted (whichever comes first). Protection highlights include:

  • rents can’t increase by more than 2% for existing tenants
  • rent cap is retroactive to 1 September 2020
  • landlords are not able to get an eviction order for renovations

Learn more: Protection for Renters: overview (PDF 71 kb) outlines what the protections mean for tenants and landlords.

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 Assistance – COVID-19 Support Grant

All students receiving Nova Scotia Student Assistance in 2020-2021 will receive a COVID-19 Response Grant. This 1-time $750 grant will help students cover lost earnings and other unexpected costs related to their studies.

Students do not need to apply for the grant. Most students will receive their grant in January 2021. Students who start their studies in the spring or summer of 2021 will receive their grant then.

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.

Federal support for businesses

The Government of Canada has funding and resources available for businesses and industries.

Small Business Impact Grant Part 3

The Small Business Impact Grant Part 3 will provide a grant of up to $5,000 to eligible businesses that have been directly affected by public health measures in April 2021.

Eligible businesses include:

  • restaurants offering in-person dining service
  • bars or licenced drinking establishments
  • fitness, recreational and leisure facilities
  • independent retailers with a physical location
  • personal services businesses like hair and nail salons and spas
  • organizations offering live performing arts

The grant amount will be 15% of the business’s sales revenue for either April 2019 or February 2020 up to a maximum of $5,000. For businesses established after 15 March 2020, the grant amount will be equal to 15% of the sales revenue for any month from April 2020 to March 2021. Applicants can choose which month to use in calculating the grant.

Businesses must either:

  • have experienced an average monthly revenue decrease of 30% or more for the period of 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 compared to the same time the previous year
  • expect at least a 30% decrease in revenues in May 2021 because of current public health measures

If you previously received a Small Business Impact Grant, you’ll receive an email explaining the next steps the week of 3 May. Applications for businesses that didn’t previously receive a grant will open by 19 May.

Questions can be sent to SBIG3@novascotia.ca.

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is available for qualifying businesses.

Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program

The COVID-19 Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program will provide eligible businesses with a one-time rebate of $1,000 or 50% of property taxes paid for the last 6 months of the 2020-21 tax year.

The program is for dine-in restaurants and drinking establishments, gyms and fitness establishments, and personal service businesses like salons, spas and body art establishments. Businesses must have either received the Nova Scotia Small Business Impact Grant (Part 1 or 2), have experienced a year-over-year decline in revenue of at least 30% for the period of 30 April 2020 to 31 January 2021, or be a new business established on or after 1 January 2020.

Applications will be available soon.

Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program – Part 2

The Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program Part 2 will give eligible tourism accommodation operators a one-time 50% rebate on the first 6 months of their commercial property taxes paid for 2021-2022.

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.

Safe restart funding

Nova Scotia municipalities are receiving $67.5 million from the federal and provincial governments through the Safe Restart Fund (PDF 105 kB). This support will help local governments meet operating costs that have been affected by lower revenue from transit and fees. It will also help them meet costs associated with COVID-19 infection prevention measures.