Nova Scotia Wildfire Relief

For your business

Disaster Assistance for Small Business - applications open! 

Small businesses who were impacted by the spring wildfires can apply for financial assistance. 

Deadline to apply: January 31, 2024. 

The program provides up to $200,000 to help small businesses with the costs to repair or replace essential, non-insurable basic property loss, such as appliances and furniture, due to the spring 2023 wildfires. 

More information is available on the government site. 

Tax remittance

If your business has been affected by the fires, you can apply for tax remittance relief from the CRA while you navigate these difficult times. Please follow the link provided for steps on how file for relief with the CRA. 

Emergency Preparedness

If your business has not been affected by the fires, however, you are located in an area where it may be at risk, now is the perfect time to formulate an Emergency Preparedness plan, should the unthinkable happen. If you do not currently have a plan in place, or don’t know where to begin, please follow this link to access a template.

Business Insurance

This is also a good time to review your business insurance to confirm whether or not you have wildfire coverage. Many insurance plans claim to cover fire damage, however in some cases this is only applicable to fire that was caused by the actions of the business or arson. Often, “acts of nature” are not included in business insurance plans unless specifically requested. Contact your business insurance provider today to ensure that your business is covered. If not, you may still be able to add this coverage.


If your business is affected by the wildfire, your employees will need the ability to collect Employment Insurance (EI). If you currently pay into EI, you will need this ability as well. To be prepared for this potential necessity, or to file an application, please visit this link.

Temporary Foreign Workers

Impacted employers who employ temporary foreign workers should note that periods of work stoppage, unemployment, or a weekly hour reduction, can be offset by periods of work that enable a worker to have an average of 30 hours per week over the entire employment period. 

Employers who make the business decision to keep workers are expected to make up any income gaps if the circumstances prevent a worker from meeting a 30-hour average work week over the employment period. This may require an employer to top up workers’ pay to meet the average of 30 hours per week over the employment period. This is not required during weeks where workers receive income supports. 

Temporary foreign workers are subject to provincial and, when applicable, federal employment regulations. Employers can legally layoff workers should a work stoppage make it impossible for the employer to fulfill their obligations under the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, under these circumstances, employers remain responsible for fulfilling other obligations under the LMIA, such as providing return airfare to workers where this is a Program requirement.

Should this not be feasible, if you have any questions, or need help with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, please contact the Employer Contact Centre

For your house/personal

Home Insurance

Just like business insurance, you will want to get in touch with your home insurance provider to ensure that your house is covered for wildfire damage. This is much more common to be included in home insurance, however, it is always best to confirm. Additionally, if you have not catalogued goods in your house that you would like insured (that you would not be able to bring with you in an evacuation), now is a good time to do so. Take a picture of the item and receipt (if available) and write a description.

Emergency Evacuation Plan

Wildfires can move fast. If you have kids, pets or a significant other, it is important to have an emergency evacuation plan in place, including multiple evacuation routes planned (should one be closed), a house exit strategy, plus “ditch kits” (i.e., an overnight bag prepared in case you need to grab and run, including non-perishable foods and water). Know where you are going to go. Do you have family or friends you can stay with? Call them now to confirm so you don’t have to scramble and fight for hotel space. Having a plan in place will help you to maintain your calm and be prepared.


CMHC encourages homeowners to contact their financial institution at the first sign of difficulty to discuss their individual situations and options.

CMHC provides lenders with options for homeowners that may be impacted by these unfortunate events including:

  • Deferral of payment
  • Re-amortization of the loan, to result in lower payments
  • Capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses
  • Special payment arrangements
  • A combination of the above

For more information, homeowners may consult “How to Deal with Mortgage Payment Difficulties”.


Other questions not addressed here

Where to get information

Twitter News:

@HRMFireNews - Not formally affiliated with HFD, but great information