You can now apply for Nova Scotia’s worker fund and business grant

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and chief public health officer Dr. Robert Strang speak at a press briefing in Halifax on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Government of Nova Scotia

Two $20-million funds established to help self-employed and laid-off workers in Nova Scotia who do not qualify for employment insurance are now available online.

Applications for the Worker Emergency Bridge Fund and Small Business Impact Grant aimed at helping those impacted by the ongoing coronavirus health crisis went online Friday at 8 a.m.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia extends coronavirus state of emergency, announces new support funds

Through the Worker Emergency Bridge Fund, the province will provide a one-time payment of $1,000 to “bridge the gap between the layoffs and closures and the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response benefit.”

You’re able to apply if you earned between $5,000 and $34,000 a year in 2018 and were laid off or out of work on or after March 16, 2020, because of COVID-19.

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The province says the funds can be combined with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the payment counts as taxable income.

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Other eligibility requirements include that you:

  • are a Nova Scotia resident
  • are 18 or older
  • have applied (or plan to apply) for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

You do not qualify if you’re:

  • receiving or are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits
  • receiving Income Assistance
  • receiving any income or benefit (like salary, sick leave, disability insurance or workers’ compensation) because you lost your income for reasons other than COVID-19
  • incarcerated in a federal or provincial institution

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You can apply for the benefit here.

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Last week, Premier Stephen McNeil said the Small Business Impact Grant will allow eligible “small businesses and social enterprises” to 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.

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Those who are eligible can choose which month will be used to calculate the grant amount.

Eligible businesses include restaurants with on-site dining, bars, salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, tattoo parlors, fitness establishments, veterinarians, as well as regulated and unregulated health professionals.

Business must have an anticipated revenue loss for April 2020 of 30 per cent or more, and have been established before March 15.

The province noted that applicable small businesses typically have fewer than 200 employees.

Businesses ineligible for the fund include licensed and other childcare providers, retail sales, physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses, paramedics, and dentists, as well as golf courses. Casino Nova Scotia and March Break camps also cannot apply.

If eligible, you can apply here.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ninth employee at Dartmouth long-term care home tests positive

Both the Worker Emergency Bridge Fund and Small Business Impact Grant come from a new $50-million fund that will be administered by Dalhousie University, McNeil announced last week.

The funds were established in response to the public health restrictive measures that were established last month in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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