Nova Scotia to get $289M from federal government for COVID-19 response

Premier Stephen McNeil addresses a news conference in Halifax on Sunday, March 15, 2020. The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia will receive $289 million from the federal government to help cover its COVID-19 response.

The provincial government announced on Wednesday that the funds will come from the provincial-federal-territorial safe restart agreement, a $19-billion fund announced in July.

“Nova Scotia is working closely with the federal government and other provinces and territories to respond to COVID-19, and ensure individuals and businesses have services and supports they need to help ease the challenges,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a press release.

Read more: N.S. municipalities facing ‘dire financial straits’ due to COVID-19, study finds

Nova Scotia says the funds will be doled out as follows:

  • $77.3 million to increase testing and contact tracing, enhance provincial border entry control and monitoring and upgrade data management
  • $77.3 million to support Nova Scotia’s tracking and reporting system and to ensure the province’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) is stocked
  • $67.5 million to help municipalities address lower revenue from transit and taxes, as well as increased costs associated with COVID-19 protection measures.
  • $19.1 million for measures to control and prevent infections among vulnerable populations, including long-term care facilities
  • $17.4 million to help child care centres provide PPE and support new cleaning protocols and public health measures

Most of the federal funding is allocated on a per capita basis or a base plus per capita base, the province said.

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All funding will be spent in the next six months, according to a provincial press release.

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Halifax mayoral candidates participate in virtual debate – Sep 16, 2020

The news of more funding has been welcomed by the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM).

The organization said in a press release that its member bore the brunt of the pandemic when they lost almost all of the non-tax revenue streams when residents were forced to stay home.

A report prepared by the NSFM in June details how the province’s municipalities were forecasting a $66.5 million shortfall for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The loss in revenue from municipal transport services is expected to amount to $23 million of that total.

Read more: Nova Scotia’s municipal elections to continue as planned in October, minister confirms

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But the funding from the safe restart agreement means that shortfall will now be covered.

“Today’s Safe Restart Agreement brings much-needed relief for municipalities who have been on the front lines of COVID-19,” says Yarmouth mayor and NSFM president Pam Mood.

“Without an ability to access additional sources of revenue, or run a deficit, this funding will ensure Nova Scotia municipalities are in a solid financial position going ahead in 2020-21.”

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