Premier Stephen McNeil, Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced today, March 20, measures to help Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia businesses dealing with COVID-19.
Effective immediately, government will invest $161 million to address cash flow and access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses in Nova Scotia.
“I’ve put together a rapid response team to help us best understand the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and our first wave of supports is focused on those most immediately impacted,” said Mr. MacLellan. “We will take further steps as necessary.”
Government will defer payments until June 30 for:
- all government loans, including those under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.
- small business fees, including business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums (a list of fees will be posted online early next week)
Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, include:
- deferring principal and interest payments until June 30
- enhancing the program to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000
- those who might not qualify for a loan, government will guarantee the first $100,000
Further measures include:
- small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days
- suspending payments on Nova Scotia student loans for six months, from March 30 to Sept. 30 and students do not have to apply
- ensuring more Nova Scotians can access the internet to work from home, by providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and complete them as soon as possible
Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. If you have been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever (above 38 C) and/or new cough should complete the online questionnaire before calling 811. The online questionnaire can be found at: https://811.novascotia.ca/
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .
- testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
- Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
Government business navigators: https://novascotia.ca/regulatoryopportunity/contact.asp
Nova Scotia Health Authority: https://www.nshealth.ca
IWK Health Centre: http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/
The Public Health Agency of Canada maintains a list of affected areas: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/covid-19-affected-areas-list.html
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
Nova Scotia Public Health offices: http://www.nshealth.ca/public-health-offices