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 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 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 (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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Emergency On-Farm Support Fund Program
The Emergency On-Farm Support Fund Program helps farms improve their workers’ health and safety by limiting the spread of COVID-19 in agriculture operations.
Emergency Support for Arts and Culture Organizations
The Emergency Support for Arts and Culture Organizations program provides immediate funding to arts and cultural organizations in Nova Scotia that have been affected by COVID-19. The funding helps them stay in operation so they can maintain or restart activity under current public health guidelines. The deadline for applications was 7 December 2020.
Federal support for businesses
The Government of Canada has funding and resources available for businesses and industries.
Forestry sector safety measures fund
The Forestry Sector Safety Measures Fund helps small and medium-sized forestry sector businesses deal with the costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible business can apply for reimbursement of expenses related to COVID-19 health and safety measures. The deadline for applications is 26 February 2021.
Small Business Impact Grant Part 2 – Restaurant, Bar, and Fitness and Leisure Business Stream
The Small Business Impact Grant Part 2 – Restaurant, Bar, and Fitness and Leisure Business Stream – supports certain small businesses in parts of Halifax and Hants County that have been ordered to close or reduce operations under public health directives in effect from 26 November 2020. The program provides a grant of up to $5,000 to help cover operating expenses.
Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is available for qualifying businesses.
Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program
The Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program is a 25% rebate that helps owners of hotels, motels and inns with their 2020-2021 commercial property tax. To receive the rebate, eligible operators must have paid their commercial property tax bill in full or have entered into a payment plan with their municipality. The deadline for applications was 11 December 2020. Applications are being reviewed, and applicants will be contacted directly.
Tourism Sector Financing Assistance Program
The Tourism Sector Financing Assistance Program is a loan guarantee that helps tourism operators access lower-cost financing. Eligible tourism operators receive a Standby Letter of Credit that lets them negotiate better terms with their lenders. The deadline for expressions of interest was 22 October 2020.
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.
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.