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Department of Health and Wellness

Residential Care Facilities (Seniors)

Who Needs This?

Anyone who wants to provide 24-hour personal or supervisory care (but without professional nursing care) for 3 or more people (usually 65 years of age or older) who are ambulatory or semi-ambulatory, in any building or place, or part of a building or place in Nova Scotia.

When Home Care does not meet the needs of a person and nursing home care is not required, a residential care facility may be the solution. Residential care facilities provide people with personal care, supervision and accommodation in a safe and supportive environment. (People living in residential care facilities must have the ability to self-evacuate in the event of an emergency.)

Issuing Department / Agency:
N.S. Department of Health and Wellness
Where can you get further information?
Contact: Manager, Investigation & Compliance, Continuing Care
Phone: 902-424-0435
Fax: 902-428-5744
Write: Continuing Care
N.S. Department of Health and Wellness
1894 Barrington St.
PO Box 488
Halifax, NS B3J 2R8
Application Forms & Process:

Homes for Special Care Act and Regulations can be obtained from the N.S. Department of Health and Wellness.

The proposal must be approved by the N.S. Minister of Health before proceeding.

There is a site visit as part of this process.

If all requirements are met and the application is approved, the licence will be sent to the applicant by mail.

The licensing of new beds is awarded through RFP process.

Waiting Period:
In accordance with RFP.
Expiry & Renewal:
This licence is valid for up to 1 year covering the period as stated on the licence. It can be renewed, and the renewal time is stated on the licence. The renewal process is started by the Department, which will issue a new licence upon expiry of the old licence, if the facility continues to meet all requirements.
Related Requirements:
Some or all of the following permits, licences or approvals may be required before this permit can be issued:
  1. Food Establishment Permit, N.S. Department of Agriculture;
  2. Building Plans Approval, Department of Municipal Affairs: Office of the Fire Marshal; and the N.S. Department of Health and Wellness;
  3. Homes for Special Care: Approval and Licence, Department of Community Services;
  4. Municipal Zoning Bylaws (if applicable);
  5. Wastewater or Water Treatment Plant or Collection Facility & Wastewater or Water Treatment Plant or Distribution Facility: Operator Certification, Nova Scotia Environment;
  6. Water Approval: Water Allocation, Nova Scotia Environment
  7. Electrical Wiring Permit, Labour and Advanced Education;
  8. Elevator / Lift Licence (Initial or Renewal), Labour and Advanced Education.
  9. Cosmetology Licence of Nova Scotia;
  10. Municipal Building Permit;
  11. Municipal Occupancy Permit
Additional Information:
Legislative Authority:
Homes for Special Care Act, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1989, Chapter 203. Amended 2010

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