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).


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.

Salvation Army Nova Scotia COVID Relief Fund

The Salvation Army Nova Scotia COVID Relief Fund helps Nova Scotians who have lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic pay their home heating or electric bills. Each household may be eligible for up to $400 in support.

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.

Digital Assistance Program for Small Business

The Digital Assistance Program for Small Business connects eligible businesses with digital consultants for services like website development, digital marketing strategies and e-commerce tools, up to a value of $5,000. Small businesses that qualified for the Small Business Impact Grant Part 3 are automatically qualified for the program. Applications from eligible businesses will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Federal support for businesses

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

Paid Sick Leave Program

Nova Scotians who need to take time off work because of COVID-19 may qualify for up to 4 paid sick days through the COVID-19 Sick Leave Program. Businesses can apply for reimbursement for an employee’s pay when an employee needs to take time off. Self-employed people can also apply.

Small Business Impact Grant Part 3

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

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

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

Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program

Applications are closed. The COVID-19 Small Business Property Tax Rebate provides 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.

Small Tourism Operators Restart Program

The Small Tourism Operators Restart Program provides a 1-time grant of $5,000 to help tourism businesses that were affected by COVID-19 restrictions. The funding can be used for advertising or other restart expenses like personal protective equipment or cleaning supplies. The deadline to apply is 23 July 2021.

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.

Tourism Accommodations Restart Customer Attraction Program

The Tourism Accommodations Restart Customer Attraction Program provides a 1-time grant to eligible accommodations operators. The grant amount is $1,000 per room for the first 10 rooms and $500 per room for each additional room. The grant can be used for marketing expenses like advertising and packages, incentives and upgrades for customers. The deadline to apply is 23 July 2021.

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.