In September, our region becomes home to thousands of post secondary students. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who are attending campus in person must adhere to new regulations as outlined by the Government of Nova Scotia.
On March 22, 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia declared a State of Emergency in response to the pandemic. As a result, Nova Scotia closed its borders to inter-provincial travel. Students arriving to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland) must self-isolate for 14 days, complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form and take three COVID-19 tests during their self-isolation period.
Every year, police respond to complaints related to the actions of students who live both on and off campus. In that regard, this year is no different. The major neighbourhood concern is noise, but we also receive complaints of liquor offences, property damage and by-law offences such as unsightly premises. The complaints come not only from long-term residents but from other students as well. In many cases, the offenders aren’t aware of the impact their actions have on their neighbours or other members of the community. The communities around the universities are made up of a mixture of single-family houses and rental properties primarily utilized by students. Disruptive behaviour is not acceptable. As a Halifax resident, you are expected to ensure your actions don’t negatively impact the quality-of-life in our community.
What we’re doing
Halifax Regional Police’s approach consists of education, outreach and enforcement as necessary. Directed patrols focus on liquor offences, noise complaints, mischief and other public safety issues that affect the quality-of-life of local residents.
Please note that warnings don’t have to be given prior to a ticket being issued.
Nova Scotia Police Act
In a state of emergency police are authorized to enforce orders under:
Health Protection Act
Section 71 Person failing to comply with Part I of Act or regulations or
with order made under Part I of Act (specify), $1,000
(a) maintain a social distance of 2 metres or 6 feet;
(b) limit social gatherings to 10 person or less;
(c) self-quarantine or self-isolate, as required in accordance with
the Chief Medical Officer’s Public Health Order;
(d) adhere to such order as provided in the Chief Medical
Officer’s Public Health Order.
Emergency Management Act
Section 23 (a) Failing to comply with direction, order or requirement made
under the Act/regulations – $582.50
If you know someone who isn’t following government restrictions and guidelines, talk to them to help them understand. If you need to call police, call the non-emergency reporting number at 902.490.5016. Do not call 911.
Liquor Control Act
Section 78 (2) Illegally possessing liquor (having open liquor in public, which
includes going next door/across the street, or possessing it
under age) – $467.50
Section 78 (3a) Under-age drinking – $295
Section 87 (1) Being intoxicated in public place – $134
Section 95 (a) Permitting drunkenness to take place in any house or any
premises of which he/she is the owner, tenant or
occupant – mandatory court appearance
You don’t have to be intoxicated to be charged for illegally possessing liquor or under age drinking. If you are intoxicated, you can be charged and/or held until you are sober.
Cannabis Control Act
Section 16 (1) No person under the age of 19 shall possess, distribute,
consume, purchase or attempt to purchase cannabis – $295
Section 5A (1) No person may smoke in a public place – up to $2,000
Section 99 (2) Releasing litter into environment contrary to Act or regulations
Noise By-law N-200
Section 3 (1) Engaging in activity that unreasonably disturbs neighbourhood
– 1st offence – $467.50 – 2nd offence – $927.50 – 3rd offence – $1,272.50
This section may be used for, but is not limited to:
• loud voices, yelling/screaming from a house or pedestrians;
• loud televisions or music, which can include the volume and/or the bass level;
• loud parties.
This by-law is in effect 24/7.
Residents are responsible for their own behaviour as well as that of their roommates and guests. Any action that unreasonably disturbs the neighbourhood will result in charges. Severe incidents may result in criminal charges being laid. Visit novascotia.ca/just/regulations/sots/NSSOTbooklet.pdf for more information on the Noise By-law.
Criminal Code – 430 (1)
Everyone commits mischief who willfully:
(a) destroys or damages property;
(b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
(c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use,
enjoyment or operation of property;
(d) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful
use, enjoyment or operation of property.
Criminal Code – 430 (4)
Everyone who commits mischief in relation to property:
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for
a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Causing a disturbance
Criminal Code – 175 (1)
(a) not being in a dwelling-house, causes a disturbance in or near
a public place,
(i) by fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or
using insulting or obscene language,
(ii) by being drunk, or
(iii) by impeding or molesting other persons,
(b) openly exposes or exhibits an indecent exhibition in a public place,
(c) loiters in a public place and in any way obstructs persons who
are in that place, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary
Please note that all fines indicated are subject to change.
When do I contact my Divisional Office?
Your first step is to report incidents to police as soon as you are aware of them (see numbers below). You can call the Divisional Office after-the-fact and we’ll work with you to reduce crime and address ongoing quality-of-life issues in your community including:
• Excessive noise • Traffic violations • Property damage • Break and enters
• Loitering • Thefts
• COVID-19 violations
In case of an emergency, call 911.
A situation is considered to be an emergency if someone’s life or property is in immediate danger or if an incident is in-progress. In-progress is defined as currently happening, the suspect may still be in the immediate area and/or the victim is still in danger.
Reporting an incident
Call 902.490.5020 to report incidents that require an officer to come to the scene, including break and enters where it’s obvious the culprit is no longer present and noise complaints in-progress.
Call 902.490.5016 for general inquiries and/or to report crimes not in-progress.
Other common quality-of-life issues
Call 311 for non-emergency municipal government services in Halifax, including animal-related public safety and nuisance issues, unsightly properties, garbage collection and parking enforcement.
Tips for being a good neighbour:
Remember that you are a part of the community and a representative of your university/college.
- Wear a non-medical mask as they are required in most indoor public places, including university campuses, common areas such as hallways and elevators, retail businesses, libraries, restaurants and public transportation.
- Maintain proper physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people and keeping your close social group to 10 as much as possible.
- Stay informed on COVID-19 directives and enforcement measures. Visit the Government of Nova Scotia’s website for more COVID-19 information.
- Be aware of how your actions affect your neighbours and community. If your neighbours have young children or have to get up early, late night noise may be an issue for them.
- Take pride in your community by keeping your property neat and tidy. While landlords may be responsible for cutting grass and snow removal, in most cases, tenants are responsible for garbage and other issues that make a property unsightly.
- Educate yourself on garbage collection times and regulations.