Tips for Entrepreneurs, Small to Large Businesses, Owners and Employees in Nova Scotia to help overcome the effects of COVID-19

In seven weeks, because of COVID-19, our Province and world has experienced unprecedented events. Our community is struggling, especially our small businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate owners and construction.  With the government making announcements daily to offer support we want to simplify how our community can access these resources. 

Individuals and organizations are still trying to navigate their way through the new essential service protocols and programs available to them.

We have to push forward, depend on each other and support our local community in any way to limit the negative impact on the economy and community.  Our businesses are key to protecting the health and safety of employees and each other. 

Revenue VS Expenses
Review your finances, look at your revenue vs expenses, are you able to meet your basic expenses?  Discuss this with your accountant or bookkeeper if you need.

Make a Plan
Are you able to service your clients with so many other businesses closing, are you able to find other suppliers if your regular one is not functioning now?  Explore options that might help you enable to keep your doors open.

Your Commercial Insurance Provider
Depending on your coverage, you may be entitled to business interruption insurance payments.  Call your provider to check your entitlement. 

The Federal and Provincial Government has implemented many programs and resources to help relieve individuals and businesses in efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Here is a list of many of those resources available:


CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY (CEWS)75% of salaries (up to 3 mths) for qualifying businesses, retroactive to March 15, 2020Individuals, corps, partnerships and NFP – all sectors (except public sector entities)Must be able to demonstrate 30% or more drop in revenuesMax $847/week per employee
Wage subsidy 10%Organizations that do not qualify for the CEWS may qualify for the 10% wage subsidy (March 18 – June 19, 2020)Individuals, CCPC, partnerships and NFP- all sectors (except trusts)Max $1375/employee Max $25,000/employer
CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT (CEBA)Interest free loan (repay Dec/22) paid salaries of $50,000-$1 millionup to $40,000($10,000 potentially forgivable)
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) for SMEs1) Loan Guarantees2) Co-Lending ProgramBDC/EDC working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.All credit-worthy businesses with viable business models whose activities fall within the mandate of BDC or EDC. No limits
SBLGP – Credit Unions90% provincial guarantee on Term loans (10yrs)75% provincial guarantee on lines of credit (7yrs)NS owned companies (exclude business with 50%+ alcohol sales)Up to $500,000 cumulative loan cap per client
SBLGP- COVID Response Stream100% provincial guarantee on Term loans/lines of creditNS owned companies (exclude business with 50%+ alcohol sales)Up to $100,000 (loan cap $500,000 /client)
SMALL BUSINESS IMPACT GRANTGrant -cash payment to businesses affected by Health orderCorps, NFP, social enterprisesUp to $5,000 per organization
WORKER EMERGENCY BRIDGE FUNDOne time fund, can be combined with CERB. Counts as taxable income and will need to include it on your 2020 tax returnLaid off after March 16th due to COVID-19 and not eligible for EIOne time payment of $1,000
SMALL BUSINESS BRIDGE GRANTGrant – cash payment to businesses affected by Health orderSmall business, non profits, charities and social enterprises who had to close or greatly reduce operations because of the public health orderOne time grant 15% of revenue from sales, either from April 2019 or February 2020, up to a max of $5,000


All positive cases of COVID-19 are reported to Public Health through the lab testing processes. Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be contacted by Public Health and they will work to determine who their close contacts are. If co-workers are identified as close contacts, Public Health will follow up with those individuals, typically within 24 hours, with instructions to self isolate. All other employees should continue to practice good hand hygiene and use cough and sneeze etiquette. Physical distance of 2 metres, or six feet, must be maintained in the workplace.

There is no requirement for businesses to close if an employee has tested positive. 

Businesses that are open must take the following steps to keep employees and customers healthy:

  • Maintain a two-metre, or six-foot, distance among employees and customers
  • Clean and disinfect workplaces a minimum of twice a day, or as required
  • Employees must follow proper hand-washing and other hygiene guidelines

To clean and disinfect workspaces, wash with soapy water first. Then disinfect using household cleaning products, following the directions on the label, or a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Disinfect phones, remotes, computers, and other handheld devices with 70% alcohol or wipes.


NSBI is taking applications for the Productivity Innovation Program. The program helps small and medium sized companies access direct assistance to help make their business more productive and innovative. 

The program helps businesses find expertise within post-secondary institutions to:

  • Improve productivity
  • Develop a new product, service, or process; and
  • Create growth

More information on the program and how to apply is available online at


The Employer Assessment tool has proved to be a popular resource for businesses looking to find out if they are complying with the Public Health order.  


Provincial website:

Follow the Department of Business on Twitter – @NS_DoB

Follow Nova Scotia government on Instagram – nsgov

To watch live and previous webcasts visit:

Government of Canada:

Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397

Government Business NavigatorsMore information on this service is available are available by callingor 1-844-628-7347 , 902-424-4475 Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm or by email


April 28 Announcement includes:

  • Schools and licensed day cares will be closed until at least May long weekend. 
  • $380 million loan program to support municipalities with financial losses due to COVID-19

April 24 Announcement includes:

  • Temporary extensions to Driver Licenses, Inspections and Vehicle Permit Renewals
  • New supports for business include COVID-19 Small Business Credit and Support stream, virtual business support hub with post-secondary institutions and NS participation with the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses

April 22 Announcements include:

  • Government will pay extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients for refills on prescriptions usually filled for longer periods
  • Red Cross Nova Scotia Stronger Together fund announced

April 17 Announcements include:

  • State of Emergency is extended to May 3, 2020
  • NSP, EfficiencyOne and the province redirecting $3 million from the HomeWarming program to fund organizations that support vulnerable Nova Scotians

April 9 Announcement includes:

  • Province recorded its second death from COVID-19
  • Applications for Small Business Impact Grant and Workers Emergency Bridge will be available tomorrow, April 10, at 8 a.m.
  • Private campgrounds are closed until May 1, inclusive. Will be reassessed.
  • Only veterinarians working with the SPCA may carry out spay and neuter surgeries
  • 211 will launch a new service to connect people needing COVID-19 assistance with the Canadian Red Cross
  • Workers in the fishing and offshore industries must self-isolate when they enter the province

April 6 Announcement includes:

  • Travel is removed from testing requirements
  • Testing Lab has moved to round-the-clock operations

April 2 State of Emergency is extended to April 19, 2020 

Announcement includes:

  • COVID-19 Worker Emergency Bridge – $20 million
  • Small Business COVID-19 Impact Grant – $20 million
  • Map and graphs of COVID-19 test results is now online at

March 30 Announcement includes:

  • Schools closed until May 1. Online and paper-based learning strategies are being developed to support student learning
  • Employer Assessment Tool to help businesses and non-profits clarify if they can remain open and how to comply with public health prders and workplace safety requirements added online.

March 27 Announcement includes:

  • Support for landlords who enter into a rent deferral agreement with their commercial tenants
  • Restaurants can now include alcohol in their take-out and delivery sales
  • Government has purchased 800 ipads for use in long term care facilities

March 26 Announcement includes:

  • COVID testing is being expanded to include:
  • Anyone referred by 811 to an assessment centre
  • All close contacts of people who test positive
  • People in hospital that meet the criteria for testing
  • Reservations for 2020 camping season are on hold until further notice
  • Open fires for any purpose in woods or within 305 metres of woods in any part of the province are banned until May 15

March 24 Announcement include:

  • Measures to strengthen the health system, help Nova Scotians dealing with COVID-19
  • Access Centres and Registry of Motor Vehicle Offices to resume operations in a scaled back, limited contact business model. 
  • Regulated health professions can stay open for emergency or urgent care or to provide virtual care as long as they meet social distancing requirements
  • Non-regulated health professions must close (with exception of podiatrists)

March 22 State of Emergency declared

March 21 Dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless deemed necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure

March 18 Announcement re: Personal Services and fitness establishments

  • Includes: hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments, gyms

March 17 No public gatherings of more than 50 people

Announcements re: restaurants

  • Only take-out and delivery permitted
  • Drinking establishments, winery and distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms closed
  • Private liquor stores permitted to be open, and craft breweries, wineries and distilleries can still sell storefront

Access Nova Scotia closed

March 15 Announcements include

  • Long-term care closed effective immediately
  • Public schools and regulated childcare closed
  • Social distancing – 2 meters/6 feet, gatherings of less than 150 or much smaller if possible

As many small businesses have had no choice but to temporarily let go their employees, there is now Employment Insurance that the employee may apply for specific to the effects of COVID-19. Direct them to go to this link to apply for their EI, further directions are there for their information.

When employees are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not working, an ROE must be issued.  For Box 16- Reason for Separation, please use the following codes but do not include comments:

  • Employee is sick or quarantined: Code D (illness or injury)
  • Employee stops working due to shortage of work or shutdown due to COVID-19: Code A (shortage of work)
  • Employee is not sick or quarantined but not working due to other reasons related to COVID-19: Code E (quit) or Code N (leave of absence)

Add comments only when required.  Doing so causes the ROE to be pulled from the automatic processing queue for review by an agent, slowing down the process.

For information on the COVID-19 pandemic and how our government is offering support you can find more information in the following links:

Service Canada Benefits and Services

Canada Revenue Agency
Including Tax Filing new dates and updates daily to any necessary information 

Economic Support Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

Public Health Agency of Canada

Maintaining your Business

If you are a Canadian manufacturer or business that can assist Canada in meeting the need for medical supplies, your help is needed! 

The effects of practicing social distancing will help flatten the curve! We will see a rise in those affected by COVID-19, but if we actively participate in the Public Health Authorities prevention plan we will overcome this. More information from Public Health can be found here.

Remember to take the self assessment test if you are experiencing symptoms before calling 811 for further direction.

If you travelled outside of our country recently or are just returning, please adhere to the 14 days of self isolation.