SHIFT: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for an Aging Population

Our action plan invites all Nova Scotians to build on the opportunities that our shifting demographics present.

Together, we can shift attitudes about aging and focus on valuing and supporting the contributions of older adults. We all benefit when older Nova Scotians stay in the workforce as long as they want, participate in community and share their knowledge and experience with other generations.

Seniors Week 2018

Every year, Seniors Week celebrates the contributions older adults make to our province. Premier MacNeil signed the proclamation for Seniors Week 2018 (October 1 to 5) and Minister Leo Glavine read a Resolution in the Legislature and recognized community partners and key stakeholders who are working with government to change the way we think about aging.

Other events this year included the announcement of a virtual reality program at Northwood’s Community Recreation and Wellness programs in Halifax and Bedford, Deputy Minister Simon d’Entremont participated at the TEDxMSVU Aging Well conference, an announcement of funding to expand the Mobile Food Market program, and many events held at libraries across the province.

Taking action

Government and community partners are taking action to achieve the goals set out in SHIFT.

Value the social and economic contributions of older adults


Older Nova Scotian workers have accumulated decades of knowledge, corporate history, skills, and experience that is invaluable to our workforce.  SkillsOnlineNS has created “Creating an Age-Friendly Workplace”, a free online course for employers on how to retain and support their most experienced employees and create a culture that values all generations in the workplace. The course is available by registering at and listed under the “Human Resources” section.

Nova Scotia Works Centres support employers to keep workplaces age-friendly

Nova Scotia Works Centres across the province have trained 25 Employer Engagement Specialists who work directly with employers on recruitment and retention issues. One of their target focuses include the benefits of hiring and keeping older adults successful in the workforce.

Redefining Retirement

The Acadia Centre for Business and Third Sector Enhancement have come together to create Redefining Retirement. This free program supports participants with finding a purpose, passion, and opportunity in multiple sectors as an older adult in Nova Scotia. In 2018, sessions were held in St. Margaret’s Bay, Windsor/West Hants, and Yarmouth County. More sessions will be held in 2019.

Silver Economy Summit 2018

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Seniors co-hosted Nova Scotia’s fourth Silver Economy Summit in March 2018.  The theme AdvantAGE: Embrace the Boom explored the role of technology with an aging population, from the use of assistive technologies to help seniors, to the rising number of older Nova Scotians using technology to become entrepreneurs.  Governments, businesses, inventors, caregivers, students and individuals gathered to discuss opportunities to think creatively about the value of technology.

Volunteer NS website launched

Volunteer NS, a volunteer matching site, was launched in September 2018 in collaboration with community and federal partners. This site allows older adults who are interested in volunteering to see what opportunities are available and make an impact in their communities.

Promote healthy, active living keep older adults physically active is an online recreation guide for communities across Nova Scotia, created with older adults’ interests in mind. The website’s aim is to encourage physically active lifestyles and is an inventory of recreational programs across the province.

Mobile Food Market expands services throughout Nova Scotia

The Mobile Food Market brings fresh, high quality, affordable foods to neighbourhoods in Halifax with food access issues.  Serving Halifax communities since May 2016, the Mobile Food Market currently operates 12 locations in seven communities.  Thanks to an investment by the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, with support from the Department of Health and Wellness, the Mobile Food Market will maintain service across the Halifax Regional Municipality bringing fresh food to neighbourhoods that need it most, and explore options to expand services in HRM and across Nova Scotia.   

Support aging in place, connected to community life

Lunenburg County creates information-friendly region

The Age-Friendly Communities grant program has helped support multiple projects in the past year including Lunenburg County’s work to create an information-friendly region. This project’s two main purposes are to ensure older adults are getting resources and supports to improve their lives and foster optimal communication and collaboration amongst groups and agencies that support older adults.

Community Transportation provides affordable and accessible transportation options

The Community Transportation Action plan and Community Transportation Assistance plan are two grant programs supported by Communities, Culture and Heritage and Municipal Affairs respectively. These programs ensure older Nova Scotians have access to affordable, accessible and reliable transportation options. This year, more than 20 organizations and municipalities have been received funding for community transportation including Chester, Kentville, Truro, Bridgewater, Pictou, Colchester, Cumberland, Annapolis, Inverness, Cape Breton, Lunenburg, and Bridgewater.  

The Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network launched a two-year demonstration project to provide passenger and parcel service to Lunenburg County starting in September 2018, connecting Mahone Bay, Lunenburg and Bridgewater to Halifax through three daily round trips.  This new service will better link Lunenburg County to help more Nova Scotians connect to jobs, services, medical appointments, school and opportunities and is part of a multi-year plan to strengthen community transportation links across the province, especially in rural areas.

Seniors’ Safety Program launches in Victoria and Colchester counties

This year, Victoria County and Colchester County were funded to develop a Seniors’ Safety Program. The main aims of the program include education on senior abuse and crime prevention, information sessions and services, and enhancing communication between older adults and the police. This has raised the total number of Seniors’ Safety Programs to 16 across the province and counting.

Housing Nova Scotia grants support independent living

Government is working with municipal and federal partners to invest in housing so that Nova Scotians can age in place in their homes and communities.  Housing Nova Scotia has two grant programs that provide financial assistance to adults 65+ to support this goal.