March 20, 2020    6:15 PM

Premier Stephen McNeil, Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan, and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang provided an update earlier today, March 20. A recording of the news conference is available here: A short audio recap from Dr. Strang will be posted on the NS Gov YouTube page: about an hour after the news conference.

Details of measures announced to help Nova Scotians and Nova Scotia businesses dealing with COVID-19 are outlined below:

 Effective immediately, government will invest $161 million to address cash flow and access to credit for small and medium-sized businesses in Nova Scotia.

 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

The full news release is available at: and in French at:

As announced earlier today, Nova Scotia has 15 cases of COVID-19, including five confirmed cases and 10 presumptive cases. The news release is available at: and in French at: