Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia eases restrictions on people moving to the province

People planning to move to Nova Scotia will now be able to apply to move to the province without the restrictions around closing dates that were previously in place.

'We are tweaking the criteria for who can move here by removing some of the date requirements'

Dr. Robert Strang said he hopes changes announced Friday around moving to Nova Scotia will address some of the concerns he has heard recently. (Nova Scotia Government)

Nova Scotia has announced changes to restrictions on people moving to the province.

Prior to Friday's announcement from Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, some people planning to move to Nova Scotia from across Canada complained that the existing requirement that a closing date had to be on or before May 20 was effectively rendering them homeless

At a media briefing, Strang thanked people moving to Nova Scotia for their patience. He said the border restrictions had been in place for several weeks and the province was making some adjustments to the restrictions. 

"We are tweaking the criteria for who can move here by removing some of the date requirements," Strang said.

Under the new rules, people can apply to move to Nova Scotia with immediate family members from the same household if they qualify under one of four categories. 

  • A purchase and sale agreement for a property showing that an offer has been accepted on or before May 1, 2021.
  • Proof of ownership of property in Nova Scotia, and either a purchase and sale agreement for a property or notice of termination of their lease agreement in another province or territory.
  • A minimum one-year lease signed on or before May 1, 2021.
  • A letter of acceptance for new employment in Nova Scotia that cannot be done virtually or deferred; the letter must be dated on or before May 7, 2021.

There will no longer be a limit on closing dates once the applicant has a qualifying offer, Strang said. 

According to Strang, if applicants meet any of these criteria they must apply via the province's Safe Check-in program and provide a plan for 14 days of mandatory self-isolation. 

For now, only people who plan to arrive in the province by July 1 will be considered due to the high volume of applications. Those applications may take up to a week to be approved. 

"These changes will address the majority of concerns that we have heard over the last couple of weeks," Strang said.

Sarah Romkey is delighted the changes will allow her to move from Hamilton , Ontario to Lunenburg. (Sarah Romkey)

The changes were music to the ears of Sarah Romkey in Hamilton, Ont., who had previously been turned down for a compassionate exemption, but now qualifies to move back to Nova Scotia's South Shore where she grew up. 

Romkey and 26 other families had written to the premier asking for a change in the entry criteria.

"Moving to Lunenburg is like a dream I never knew I had coming true," said Romkey, adding that her dad lives in LaHave.

Romkey told CBC News she has already used the Safe Check-in to enter the province under the relaxed restrictions.

Carly Temple was all set to travel with her family to Beaver Bank, N.S., from Welland, Ont., to a new life and new job until Nova Scotia's border closed.

Her family will have access to their new home on May 25. But because her purchase agreement is dated May 3, she just misses the new deadline by a couple of days.

Temple was denied a compassionate exemption as recently as Thursday.

The uncertainty about her move has resulted in her job offer falling through. 

"I kept going back and forth and said, 'I'm sorry, I can't come on this date. I'm still waiting to find out when I'm allowed in the province,' and apologized," she said. 

"That did not meet his business needs and he had to go with another candidate because he doesn't know when I'll be allowed in."


With files from Gareth Hampshire