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Nova Scotia: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

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We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.  

In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in Nova Scotia and putting it in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.  

Please check back regularly. We will update this page as more information becomes available. 

Closures

Consult our guide to learn which businesses are currently closed in Nova Scotia. 

COVID-19 Employer Assessment Tool – Can my business operate? 
The Government of Nova Scotia has made available an on-line tool to quickly help employers determine if they may remain open, in compliance with current workplace safety requirements. 

Commercial leases: rent deferral program

The government of Nova Scotia is encouraging landlords to defer rent payments for their commercial tenants for 3 months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term.

  • If you’re deferring rent because your tenant’s business is shut down or significantly restricted by the Health Protection Act order, you could be eligible for coverage (up to a maximum of $50,000 per landlord and $15,000 per tenant) if you can’t recover the deferred rent.
  • To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Business Rental Deferral Guarantee Program, landlords must register with the Department of Business by 3 April by emailing [email protected]. The rent deferral agreement must be in place by 1 April.

For more information read the COVID-19 Rent Deferral Support Program guidelines

You can use one of these forms to document the deferral agreement with your tenant.

Workers' compensation: deferred premiums

Workers’ compensation premiums are being deferred until July 2020. 

Information and updates on workers’ compensation issues related to COVID-19 can be found on the WCB website. You can find answers there to questions like: 

  • Are workers eligible for WCB benefits if they have COVID-19?
  • What happens if a worker files a claim?
  • Are quarantined or self-isolated workers eligible for benefits?
  • And much more.
Provincial Government: grants, loans, and loan deferral
  • 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.
  • Government will defer payments until June 30 for small business renewal fees, including business registration 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, and for those who might not qualify for a loan, government will guarantee the first $100,000.
  • Small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days
  • NSBI has updated the Small Business Development Program to serve Nova Scotia businesses better. The program helps businesses work with a private consultant to overcome a pain point or barrier, or a business expert to help identify and develop the leadership skills needed to scale your company. 

Small Business Impact Grant

Through this new $20-million program, eligible small businesses and social enterprises will receive a grant of 15 per cent of their revenue from sales, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. This flexible, one-time, upfront grant can be used for any purpose necessary. Funding for program will come from a new $50 million fund administered by Dalhousie University.”

Business Navigators

Business Navigators are available to help Nova Scotia businesses with any questions they may have. They can be reached Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm at 1-844-628-7347, 902-424-4475 or by email at [email protected] 

For more detailed information, please visit the Nova Scotia COVID-19 information page.

Measures for restaurants

Starting 30 March, restaurants can include alcohol purchases with take-out and delivery orders, as long as the alcohol cost is no more than 3 times the value of food ordered

Self-employed and employee Emergency Bridge Fund

Government is contributing $20 million to help self-employed people and laid-off workers who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance. Government will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 to bridge the gap between layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Funding for program will come from a new $50 million fund administered by Dalhousie University.

Employment Standards Requirements

If you need to lay off employees temporarily, there is no requirement to give or pay notice since the COVID-19 is a circumstance that could not be foreseen by an employer. 

Emergency Leave

If an employee cannot work because their employer has been ordered, under the Nova Scotia Health Protection Act, to close part − or all − of their operations, the employee would be entitled to emergency leave job protection.  This is one example of the application of the emergency leave provisions, there are other circumstances to which the provisions apply.  Employees are entitled to emergency leave for as long as they are unable to perform their work duties as a result of the emergency. Employees eligible for emergency leave must be permitted to return to their job once the emergency ends.  

Nova Scotia Government Tender Notices

Are you a business that can supply products and service in support of Nova Scotia’s response to COVID-19? If so, the provincial government would like to hear from you. A procurement portal has been developed and includes a list of products and services the provincial government is looking for. 

Changes to Registry of Joint Stock
  • All Registry of Joint Stock Company (RJSC) renewals due in March, April and May 2020 have been extended to June 30, 2020.  Name reservations, sole proprietorship and partnership registrations and annual renewals can be completed online.
  • Counter service is not available at this time.  The Business Registration Unit, located on 6 North in the Maritime Centre, 1505 Barrington Street, Halifax, will have a drop box in the building lobby for deliveries of documents for processing. Drop boxes are in place at Access Nova Scotia Centre locations in Yarmouth, Kentville, Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Amherst, Stellarton and Sydney to receive RJSC deliveries and will be delivered to the Maritime Centre for processing.
  • During this period, scanned copies of originally signed documents or digitally signed documents where the digital signature information is clearly readable when the document is printed, will be accepted.  These scanned or digitally signed documents may be submitted via email to [email protected]
  • The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has issued updated information concerning the client identification rules, as well as taking affidavits and oaths with non-face-to-face means.
  • Emails containing a credit card number are automatically blocked for security reasons. Please provide a phone number of a contact person from whom to obtain the relevant credit card information to complete payment. Contact the Registry of Joint Stock Company (RJSC) directly at 902-424-7770 or 1-800-225-8227 with any questions.

What is CFIB doing?

As we regularly communicate with the Nova Scotia government to get answers your questions, we are actively lobbying them to:

  • waive interest and penalty fees for any late/deferred property tax payments.

FAQ on COVID-19

We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Centre to learn more.