COVID-19 Property Tax Financing Program

On April 28, the Province announced a new operating loan program to help municipalities with financial losses due to COVID-19.

The $380 million loan program, which was developed in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities and the Association of Municipal Administrators, will be available through the Municipal Finance Corporation. Municipalities interested in accessing a loan will first need to determine their revenue shortfall.

Municipal councils will be required to pass a resolution and submit it to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The department will analyze requests and if approved will forward the approval to the Nova Scotia Municipal Finance Corporation. Upon approval by the corporation’s board of directors it will administer a loan agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Municipalities will have six months to begin repayment and three years to fully repay the loan
  • Funds will be disbursed to municipalities by the Municipal Finance Corporation within 24 hours of the agreement being signed.

Read the media coverage of the announcement to learn more about the program.

Provincial Economic Relief Programs 

Payment deferrals to June 30 on all government loans and business fees including:

  • Farm Loan Board
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board
  • Jobs Fund
  • Nova Scotia Business Fund
  • Municipal Finance Corp.
  • Housing Nova Scotia
  • Business Renewal Fees
  • Workers Compensation Premiums
  • Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, includes principal and interest payments until June 30

For more information, see the government release.

Automatic payment suspensions until September 30 for:

  • Student Loans

Landlord/Tenant Programs:

  • No tenant can be evicted because their income has been impacted by COVID-19, effective March 19 for the next three months.
  • The provincial government encourages retail and commercial landlords to defer lease payments for the next three months for businesses that had to close directly due to the public health order. Landlords who participate by granting such businesses a three-month deferral and register by April 3 will be able to claim losses of up to $5,000 per month, if the renting business does not continue operating. Landlords are not permitted to change locks or seize property of businesses who cannot pay rent, if the business closed directly because of COVID-19 public health orders.

For more information, click here. 

Other provincial government investment includes:

  • Providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative to complete them as soon as possible
  • Investing $200,000 to support transition houses as well as other organizations that serve vulnerable women and children
  • Investing $55,000 to support 12 smaller community food banks
  • Investing $2.2 million so that every individual and family member on income assistance will receive an additional $50 starting Friday, March 20, to help pay for food, cleaning supplies and personal care items. People do not need to apply.
  • $1 million to help Feed Nova Scotia purchase food and hire more staffEmergency funding of $230,000 for Senior Safety Programs and Community Links to help vulnerable older adults 

Federal Economic Relief Programs 

On April 1st, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced further details of the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This program will provide wage subsidies of up to 75 percent to help qualifying employers retain and pay workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Publicly funded employers—including governments and Crown corporations—are not eligible for this new wage subsidy. Read why here.

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures, part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

For the full list of programs, including supports to businesses and individuals, click here.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Canadian municipalities are responsible for a wide range of services, including hiring first responders, providing waste disposal and maintaining infrastructure. In an effort to provide financial relief to citizens and local businesses, some municipalities are introducing or expanding property tax deferral programs. 

Designing property tax deferrals, a resource developed by FCM and the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, answers 10 questions that municipalities should consider when designing property tax deferral programs, highlighting some considerations and implications. 

Read more here from FCM.