FAQS

Life In Nova Scotia

What is Nova Scotia’s capital city?

Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia, combining the history of a strategic port city with the youthful spirit of a modern university town. By day, check out eclectic shops, artisan studios, museums, and galleries. By night, experience the vibrant music scene, savour award-winning cuisine, and hoist a pint in a city with more pubs and clubs per capita than almost anywhere else in Canada. It’s fitting that Halifax’s most famous brew master was also the mayor. Three times. Alexander Keith’s original 1820 brewery continues to welcome visitors with costumed guides, stories, and, of course, good ale.

Halifax Waterfront – Walk across the street from Keith’s Brewery to the Halifax waterfront boardwalk and follow the water’s edge alongside the world’s second-largest ice-free harbour. Stretching from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – the gateway into Canada for over one million immigrants – to Casino Nova Scotia, you pass unique shops, restaurants, and in the warmer months, graceful tall ships. Hop aboard the ferry (North America’s longest-running!) and cross the harbour to Dartmouth, filled with more locally-owned shops, galleries, cafés, restaurants, and pubs. And don’t forget, a visit to Halifax is not complete without trying the fabled donair, our official food.

What is the population of Nova Scotia? Of Halifax?

As of July 1, 2020, Nova Scotia’s population is estimated to be 979,351 and Halifax is at 412,674.

Are there other cities in Nova Scotia besides Halifax?

Yes, there is a great mix of cities and towns in Nova Scotia. Following Halifax, the next biggest population centres in Nova Scotia are Sydney, Truro, and New Glasgow. Learn more about Nova Scotia’s 7 regions and our charming cities and towns.

What is the climate like in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia weather can be summed up in one word – moderate. It rarely gets extremely hot or extremely cold. The daily temperature can fluctuate by your proximity to the ocean. If you spend the morning in Halifax, the afternoon in Wolfville, and the evening in Yarmouth, the weather and temperature can be quite different. Having a fleece or knit sweater on hand for easy layering keeps you comfortable wherever you are.

What temperatures can you expect in Nova Scotia?

Spring in Nova Scotia:

  • Mid-March to late April: 0 to 10 degrees Celsius (32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Late April to mid-June: 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Summer in Nova Scotia:

  • Mid-June to mid-September: 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Fall in Nova Scotia:

  • Mid-September to mid-November: 10 to 20 degrees Celsius range (50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Mid-November to mid-December: 0 to 10 degrees Celsius range (30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit)

Winter in Nova Scotia:

  • Mid-December to mid-March: 0 to -15 degrees Celsius (0 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit)

Does Nova Scotia have much traffic?

Nova Scotians spend less time in traffic than in other urban centres in Canada. In fact, we spend approximately 11–14% less time commuting to work compared to the national average. In some smaller communities, the commute time is even lower. And in Halifax, commuters spend just 24 minutes in transit — that’s 30% less time than Toronto. It’s part of why Nova Scotia is known for its quality of life. Because less time getting home means more time being home. Most cities and towns in Nova Scotia offer public transportation. Active Transportation: Halifax is rated by WalkScore.com as very walkable with a score of 70. This means it’s easy to live downtown, and walk to the surrounding amenities and work. Whether you want to walk or ride your bicycle around town, Halifax has plenty of options.

What is the culture like in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia is home to more than 100 cultures and ethnicities from across the globe, and it shows in our music, art, food, and traditions. About two-thirds of Nova Scotia’s population is between the ages of 15 and 64. Languages: There are more than 200 languages spoken in Nova Scotia. English is the most commonly spoken in a home setting (94.66%) and French is the second-most commonly spoken (1.59%). Education: More than two-thirds of people in Halifax aged 15+ have a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree — a higher percentage than the national average. History: Nova Scotians take great pride in preserving what makes our varied historic cultures unique and fascinating. The traditions of the Mi’kmaq, Acadian, African Nova Scotian, and Gaelic peoples live strong in our everyday. For ten thousand years, this rugged, sea-swept peninsula has been home to the Mi’kmaq people. Mi’kmaq have enriched this province with their legends, art, music, spirituality, history, and language. The spirit of l’Acadie also echoes deep in our culture, a legacy of the intrepid French settlers who first arrived and settled in Nova Scotia in the seventeenth century. The French were followed, not always harmoniously, by the British, who brought over tens of thousands of Gaelic-speaking settlers from Ireland and Scotland. Later came New England planters, Black Loyalists leaving the U.S. after the War of Independence, the Maroons of Jamaica… all contributing to Nova Scotia’s distinctive voice and character. There are many National Historic Sites spread out across the province, highlighting the diverse and complex path that Nova Scotia took to becoming what it is today. This includes Port Royal, where the first European settlement in Canada was established in 1605. To learn more about funding and awards for communities, arts, culture, and heritage, or to find out about the culture and heritage sites we support and protect, visit https://cch.novascotia.ca/.

What is the cost of living in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has some of the most affordable costs of living in Canada. Halifax ranks 102nd out of 427 cities in the world for affordable living. A sample of comparative costs:

  • Average four-person monthly rent: $4,045
  • Single person monthly rent: $1,125
  • Local transportation $2.50
  • Internet (60 mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL), monthly $92
  • Fitness club, monthly fee, one adult $54
  • Preschool, Full Day, Private, Monthly for one child $836
  • Apartment (one bedroom) in city centre $1,225
  • Apartment (three bedrooms) in city centre $2,050
  • Price per square meter to buy an apartment in city centre $5,543
  • Price per square meter to buy apartment outside of centre $2,989

Real Estate

What are housing prices like in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has some of the most affordable costs of living in Canada. This is especially relevant when it comes to housing costs.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), in September 2021, the average price of a Nova Scotia home was $356,757 compared to the national average of $686,656. In Halifax: $471,746. In Toronto? $1,082,400. Food, services, and transportation are affordable as well. To learn more about residential real estate prices across the province, visit the CREA website.

Where can I find property tax information and assessments in Nova Scotia?

To find information on property taxes and assessments in Nova Scotia, please visit https://www.pvsc.ca/en/home/findanassessment/searchbyaddress.aspx?pvsc=bW9kZT04JmZwaWQ9OTg.

Where can I find real estate listings?

Realtor.ca is a great place to start!

Can I visit Nova Scotia to view real estate under current COVID-19 restrictions?

People are welcome to visit Nova Scotia to view real estate if they are fully vaccinated at least 14-days prior to arrival. Otherwise, there are self-isolation requirements based on vaccination status. More information on public health directives, including self-isolation requirements can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restrictions-and-guidance/#self-isolation-requirements

There are many real estate agents in Nova Scotia who can help you find a home, and many currently offering virtual tours and walkthroughs. They can also help you with mortgage and legal requirements. For a complete list of licensed real estate agents, contact the Nova Scotia Realtors Association.

What are rental prices like in Nova Scotia?

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in 2019, the average rental price for a 2-bedroom unit in Nova Scotia was $1,090 a month.

Where can I find rental listings?

There are many places to view rental listings including PadMapper and Point2Homes. Many property management companies also include their availability on their websites.

More information on tenant rules and responsibilities in Nova Scotia can be found on the Residential Tenancies section of the Access Nova Scotia website.

Economy

The Nova Scotia economy remains strong despite the pandemic

According to a recent labour force survey in January, Nova Scotia is one of the four provinces that had an increase in employment with a 1.7 per cent monthly rise. The only other Atlantic province that had a growth in labour force is P.E.I. The unemployment rate in Nova Scotia also dropped to 8.3 per cent, one point below the national average of 9.4 per cent. Learn more.

Visit the following links to explore employment opportunities in the province of Nova Scotia: 

https://opportunities.digitalnovascotia.com/ 

https://www.careerbeacon.com/en/search/jobs-in-Nova-Scotia

https://ca.indeed.com/jobs?q=&l=Nova+Scotia 

https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/jobsearch/jobsearch?searchstring=&locationstring=nova+scotia&sort=M

To learn more about Nova Scotia’s economic growth, visit https://beta.novascotia.ca/government/inclusive-economic-growth and https://www.onens.ca/

Healthcare

How does health care in Nova Scotia work?

In Canada, health care is publicly funded by both the federal and provincial governments. Nova Scotia’s Medical Services Insurance (MSI) is the provincial plan. It pays for the cost of:

  • Medically required doctors’ services
  • Some dental and optometric services
  • Doctor referred specialist visits
  • Certain hospital in-patient and out-patient services
  • Many employers offer their employees additional health care coverage to help cover the costs of prescriptions and other health services (e.g., physiotherapy). You can also apply for private health care insurance on your own.

Applying for a Health Card: You need a Nova Scotia Health Card to get free medical and hospital services in Nova Scotia. You must show your health card whenever you see a doctor or go to the hospital. To apply for a health card visit the Government of Nova Scotia website.

When does MSI coverage kick in?

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident moving permanently to Nova Scotia from another part of Canada, coverage will generally begin on the first day of the third month following the date you established residency here. For example, if you established residency in Nova Scotia on September 27th, Nova Scotia would provide coverage on December 1st. Contact your previous province to ensure your coverage is maintained until your Nova Scotia MSI coverage begins.

If you are married/common-law and your spouse did not move at the same time, but will be joining you within 12 months of your arrival date, Nova Scotia coverage for both would begin the first day of the third calendar month following the arrival of your spouse in the province. Please visit https://novascotia.ca/DHW/msi/moving_travel.asp for more information.

What kind of health insurance do I need if I’m moving to Nova Scotia on long-term, but not permanent basis?

Don’t make assumptions about inter-provincial coverage. We recommend checking directly with a travel insurance provider to discuss your needs and identify any pre-existing conditions to ensure you get the coverage you need.

How can I get a family doctor?

To find a family doctor, a nurse practitioner or other primary health care service, please call 811 or visit needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca

Call 811 to speak to someone if:

  • You prefer to register by phone rather than online
  • You are new to Nova Scotia and do not have a Nova Scotia Health Card

811 Staff are available Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Families And Childcare

What are my childcare options in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has a strong work-life balance with a focus on family and community. Our affordable housing and shorter commute times means families get to spend more time together, taking part in the many activities and adventures found throughout the province. Nova Scotia is a place where children play outside and walk to nearby schools.

Childcare options include:

  • Childcare Centres: Nova Scotia childcare centres are licensed facilities. All employees of childcare centres must meet qualification requirements as outlined by the government. A list of childcare centres can be found on the Nova Scotia government website.  Learn More.
  • Other-home Care: Other-home care is in a home other than the child’s, usually the home of the caregiver. It can be more convenient because it can be closer to the home or school of the child. Other-home caregivers do not require a license; they are hired and monitored by the parents.
  • Own-home Care: Own-home care is in the home of the child. Many parents find this convenient because it does not involve travel times.

SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES & COLLEGES

What is the school system like in Nova Scotia?

  • Public education is run by the provincial government. In Nova Scotia, most students attend public school, starting at age five with grade primary in elementary school. Nova Scotia offers pre-primary for four-year-olds. Primary is followed by grades one to six. After elementary school, youth typically attend grades seven to nine at a junior high school, and high school for grades ten through 12. Public schools operate for about five hours a day. Times vary at different schools and at different levels. Language instruction can either be in French or English, but most schools in Nova Scotia are primarily English. French immersion is available. After completing high school, students may choose to continue with post-secondary education at university, community college or through an apprenticeship. Learn More.
  • Home Schooling: Parents may legally provide an education program for their children in the home, rather than a public school. They must follow government approved courses and programs. Visit the Nova Scotia Department of Education website for more information on home schooling.
  • Private Schools: Options for private schooling are also available. Learn more.

Does Nova Scotia have Universities & Colleges?

With around 1 million people, Nova Scotia boasts no less than 10 degree granting universities, the highest concentration of universities Canada has to offer. From undergraduate degrees in virtually any topic, to graduate degrees in medicine, dentistry, business, engineering, education, fine arts and more, the universities of Nova Scotia should be at the top of your list. Learn More.

The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is a province-wide training and education system housed at thirteen campuses. Practical, hands-on programs provide students with competencies and skills that meet and exceed international standards.

NSCC offers more than 110 full-time programs in several disciplines including applied arts and new media, computer science, industrial trades and technologies, health and human services, and business. Customized training programs for business, industry and government agencies form a major component of education and training activities on every campus. Learn More.

Internet Access

How accessible is high-speed Internet in Nova Scotia?

The Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative is actively expanding and improving rural Internet service. The latest round of the project was announced in January 2021. These projects, along with a couple of Municipally led initiatives, will mean 99% of Nova Scotian homes and businesses will have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2023 (up to and including this date). Nova Scotia will be among the first provinces in Canada to achieve this level of coverage. We continue to work to get as close to 100% as possible. Read more about the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative.

How do I check if there is high-speed internet where I want to move/stay?

Currently 80% of Nova Scotia homes and businesses enjoy access to network infrastructure that can provide high-speed internet – with more being installed every day. If you have a property in mind here in Nova Scotia and want to understand what access is available there today, simply input the address at this link and find out which Internet Service Providers operate in that area and what services they provide. We’re also working to expand high speed internet to as close to 100% of Nova Scotia homes and businesses as possible, with projects now underway to reach 99% by the end of 2023. We believe Nova Scotia will be the first province to reach more than 99% coverage in Canada with access to reliable high-speed internet, and we’re not stopping there. If you have a Nova Scotia community picked out as a possible home base, enter the neighbourhood you’re considering here (top right hand corner) to see if projects have been announced for that area, what type of technology will be available and expected completion dates for the project. If you have a specific property you’re considering then you can fill out this form with the address and you’ll receive a response from Develop Nova Scotia as quickly as possible.

Covid-19

COVID-19 Update:  People travelling into Nova Scotia must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form and upload proof of vaccination if you have it. Isolation requirements are based on vaccination status and testing. For more information, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/travel/.

Can I move to Nova Scotia under the current COVID-19 restrictions?

Yes, you can. People moving to Nova Scotia from other provinces and territories must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form and upload proof of vaccination if you have it. Isolation requirements are based on vaccination status and testing. More information on Nova Scotia’s travel restrictions and protocols can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/travel/

Can I travel throughout the province under the current COVID-19 restrictions?

At this time, people are able to move freely within the province while following public health restrictions. As conditions can change, see the latest public health directives by region here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/county-restrictions/

Are retail businesses and restaurants currently allowed to open?

Most business and restaurants in the province are open. Masks are currently required in most indoor public spaces and proof of vaccination is required for people age 12 and over for places and activities that bring groups of people together (such as dining in restaurants, theatres, events, etc). Find the latest public health directives here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restrictions-and-guidance/

What entertainment, events, etc. are available under the current COVID-19 restrictions?

Most businesses are open and live events have returned. Masks continue to be required in indoor public places and proof of vaccination is required for people age 12 and over for places and activities that bring groups of people together (such as dining in restaurants, theatres, events, etc). Gathering limits are in place for informal personal gatherings (such as gatherings in a person’s home). Find the latest public health directives here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restrictions-and-guidance/