Skip to content

Nova Scotia beefs up Heating Assistance Rebate Program (update)

The province is also expanding eligibility to households with an income of up to $85,000 this winter
030922 - home heating - programmable thermostat
stock photo

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s premier announced a new $115.4-million funding package Wednesday aimed at helping low- and middle-income earners with inflation.

The bulk of the one-time funding — $100 million — will go to the province’s heating assistance rebate program, Premier Tim Houston told reporters. The new money, he said, will increase the home heating rebate this winter to $1,000 from $200.

“We’re coming with real relief to help you heat your home,” Houston said.

Houston said the maximum eligibility threshold for heating assistance is also being expanded to include households with net incomes of up to $85,000 — a move expected to help 100,000 families.

“Time and again I hear from people who tell me they just missed qualifying,” he said. “These folks are far from wealthy but they are falling through the cracks … so we are expanding access so it can support more people during the winter.”

The previous threshold for assistance under the heating rebate program was $29,000 for a single person and $44,000 for households.

Government officials said the 34,000 households that have already received assistance this year under the heating program will receive a payment in the new year to bring them up to the new $1,000 allotment. The expanded program opens to new applications on Jan. 30.

As well, $6.7 million will go toward one-time payments of $250 to Nova Scotians on income assistance and of $1,000 to full-time foster families. Officials said the income assistance payments would be extended to 23,000 cases administered by the Department of Community Services.

The remaining $8.7 million in the new funding envelope is earmarked for grants to community organizations, such as food banks, family resource centres and transition houses. The organizations are to receive funding within a week and they won’t have to apply.

The Opposition Liberals and the NDP welcomed the financial assistance, saying the threshold adjustment to the heating program will make a difference during the winter months.

However, Liberal affordability critic Braedon Clark said the government needs more of a vision when it comes to supporting those who need help. “Thresholds for all government programs substantially need to change,” Clark said. “You can’t just do it one time and piecemeal and expect that’s going to make a difference.”

NDP Leader Claudia Chender said the expansion of the heating program is something her party has advocated for months.

“One-time is better than nothing, but our advocacy will be focused on ensuring that this is the beginning of a comprehensive look at the way this government can support Nova Scotians through this cost-of-living crisis,” Chender said.

The new funding follows an announcement Tuesday during which the government committed $140 million over the next four years for energy efficiency programs to help low- and middle-income homeowners end their use of heating oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2022.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

Rogers Sports & Media
6080 Young Street Halifax, NS, B3K 5L2
© 2006-2023 Rogers Sports & Media. All rights reserved.
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks