Nova Scotia to Give Some Low-Income Households One-Time $250 Inflation Relief Benefit

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Nova Scotia will provide a one-time $250 payment to households on government income assistance to help with the rising cost of living, the province announced on Dec. 14.

All households receiving income assistance will get a one-time payment of $250 before Christmas, while full-time foster families will receive $1,000, the province said.

Meanwhile, $100 million has been allocated to the province’s Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP), which will see the rebate rise from $200 to $1,000. Eligibility will be expanded to apply to any household with an income below $85,000, which Premier Tim Houston said would support an extra 100,000 families.

So far, the province estimates 34,000 households have obtained the rebate. Applications previously denied will be reconsidered and Nova Scotia households can start applying as of Jan. 30, 2023.

Previously, only single people with an annual net income of $29,000 or lower, or families with children and dependents earning under $44,000 in net income could qualify for the rebate.

At a news conference on Dec. 14, the premier said the rebate is for this year only, but the province is looking at what programs can be expanded.

“We’ll continue to evolve with it,” Houston said. “This is for the here and now … this winter, to help people.


The inflation program is expected to cost $115 million and is a result of an unexpected provincial surplus of $350.9 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Other initiatives include funding of $8.7 million to community organizations, including food banks such as Feed Nova Scotia, child and youth programs, the disability support program, family resource centres, and transition houses.

Some payments will start being released on Friday.

On Dec. 13, the province announced it would begin the HomeWarming Program, a new endeavour to cover the cost of heat pumps and upgraded electrical panels for low-income households trying to be more energy efficient.

To qualify for a free heat pump, single individuals must earn a net income of below $27,250 per year, while households of two to four people must earn under $50,635 net annually. A household of five or more people will qualify for the free pump if earning less than $72,113 net per year.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

Marnie Cathcart


Marnie Cathcart is a reporter based in Edmonton.

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