**** CNS Media Release
Measures to Help Nova Scotia Businesses, Students
Premier Stephen McNeil, Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced today, March 20, measures to help Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia businesses dealing with COVID-19.
Effective immediately, government will invest $161 million to address cash flow and access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses in Nova Scotia.
“I’ve put together a rapid response team to help us best understand the needs of small and medium-sized businesses and our first wave of supports is focused on those most immediately impacted,” said Mr. MacLellan. “We will take further steps as necessary.”
Government will defer payments until June 30 for:
— all government loans, including those under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.
— small business fees, including business renewal fees and workers compensation premiums (a list of fees will be posted online early next week)
Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, include:
— deferring principal and interest payments until June 30
— enhancing the program to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000
— those who might not qualify for a loan, government will guarantee the first $100,000
Further measures include:
— small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days
— suspending payments on Nova Scotia student loans for six months, from March 30 to Sept. 30 and students do not have to apply
— ensuring more Nova Scotians can access the internet to work from home, by providing $15 million as an incentive to providers to speed up projects under the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative and complete them as soon as possible
Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. If you have been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever (above 38 C) and/or new cough should complete the online questionnaire before calling 811. The online questionnaire can be found at: http://811.novascotia.ca/
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at http://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .
Fisheries Ministers Unified To Support Industry
The fishing and aquaculture industries are a vital part of the province’s economy and an important source of food.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell is meeting regularly with the ministers responsible for fisheries and aquaculture in the other Atlantic provinces and Quebec to discuss ways to support the seafood industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
The province announced one measure in support of Nova Scotia’s fishery sector today, March 20, that it is deferring payments and interest for government lending programs until June 30. This includes loans under the Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board.
The five provincial ministers have begun weekly discussions to share ideas and discuss developments and options. Today, the ministers also had a joint call with federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan.
“Nova Scotia’s ongoing collaboration with Minister Jordan and the federal government, and our strong working relationship with the other Atlantic provinces and Quebec benefit the commercial fishery in our region. I look forward to our continued co-operation in the future as we gather information from our local industry and hear their concerns during this difficult time coping with COVID-19. By communicating and working closely together and with the federal department, we can better help our fishing industries meet today’s challenges, “said Mr. Colwell.
In their call this week, the ministers discussed the importance of the fishing and aquaculture sector to their individual provinces, the importance of food supply, and their desire to work together with their respective industries to minimize the impact of COVID-19 as much as possible, to ensure people remain safe. They agreed to work collectively with the federal government on ways to lessen impacts.
“The public health measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have created a unique situation with both economic and social consequences for our seafood industry and or coastal communities. Unique solutions will be required, but working together as a region provides an advantage for all of Atlantic Canada’s seafood producers. The health of our citizens is top priority but we are also committed to helping this vital industry remain strong.”
– Prince Edward Island Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox
“It is imperative that we work together to support Atlantic Canada’s seafood industry in these difficult times. Our harvesters, aquaculture producers and seafood processors have always been ready to adapt to make sure they maintain their livelihood for current and future generations, and this is no exception. We will continue to focus efforts to support this resilient industry and to ensure it remains a sustainable way of life for rural, coastal and Aboriginal communities.”
– New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Ross Wetmore
“As the pandemic’s impact on the Atlantic region’s seafood sector evolves, I will continue to work in close collaboration with my Atlantic colleagues to secure the necessary strategies and supports that ensure our respective fishing industries correctly respond and ultimately recover.”
– Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne
— total fish and seafood exports from Nova Scotia were $2.3 billion in 2019, a 13.6 per cent increase over 2018 export earnings
— lobster led the way as Nova Scotia’s most valuable export species in 2019, valued at almost $1.2 billion
— aquaculture delivers new, well-paying, year-round jobs centered in coastal and rural communities within Nova Scotia, where they are needed most
— Nova Scotia’s aquaculture industry was worth more than $88 million and directly employed 519 people in full- and part-time positions in 2018.
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture: http://novascotia.ca/fish
Nova Scotia’s International Seafood Brand: http://nsseafood.com
Government of Canada: http://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
Nova Scotia Public Health offices: http://www.nshealth.ca/public-health-offices