Back to List
Posted January 4, 2023

Governmental & Provincial Programs to Support Low-Income Families

One of VIDA's goals is to help residents get ahead in life by providing an affordable, clean, safe place people are proud to call home. Thus, we'd like to share information about some governmental & provincial programs that provide additional benefits and support low-income families:

1. Heating Assistance Rebate Program (Nova Scotia)

  • Program helps low income Nova Scotians with the cost of home heating
  • Rebates range from $100 - $200
  • Applications are accepted up until March 31st

Eligibility. To qualify for the rebate, you need to pay for your own home (residential) heat and meet 1 of the following criteria:

  • have a net income of $29,000 or less and live alone with no kids or dependents
  • have a combined net income of $44,000 or less and live with kids, dependents or other adults
  • receive Income Assistance from the Department of Community Services
  • receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or the Allowance from Service Canada

If your personal or financial situation has changed since last year, you still may qualify. Examples of changes include becoming widowed, getting divorced or legally separated, losing your job, turning 18, recently arriving in Canada, or having the custody of your children change. Contact the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services to find out if you qualify.

For more information - Apply for a heating assistance rebate: Heating Assistance Rebate Program - Government of Nova Scotia

2. Salvation Army HEAT Fund

The Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund supports Nova Scotians in need with home heating cost during the winter months. For over 20 years, this program has helped keep thousands of individuals and families across Nova Scotia warm during the winter.

Together, the Province of Nova Scotia through Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, Nova Scotia Power, its employees and its customers, have played a significant role in growing this Fund to help more families each year. This year, Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link Inc. also made a one-time contribution to the program, enabling The Salvation Army to assist an additional 2,500 households.

  • Program starts on January 15th 2023
  • Supports Nova Scotians in need with heating costs during the winter months
  • Eligible customers can receive up to $400.00

You may apply if:

  • You live in Nova Scotia and are within the following low-income threshold:
    • $29,000 for one-person households,
    • $47,703 for two to four person households, and
    • $67,937 for households of five or more individuals.
  • Your household is experiencing an emergency heating situation.

For more information - The HEAT Fund - Maritime Division (

3. The One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit (OTCHB)

This is a program for low-income renters with adjusted net incomes below $35,000 for families, or $20,000 for individuals who pay at least 30 percent of their adjusted net income on rent.

Applicants have to be paying rent for their own primary residence in Canada, and need to apply on their own behalf.

In order to receive this $500 payment to help cover rent, applicants need to confirm they:

  •  Have filed their 2021 income tax and benefit return;
  •  Are at least 15 years of age as of Dec. 1, 2022;
  •  Are a resident in Canada for tax purposes in 2022;
  •  Have their principal residence in Canada as of Dec. 1, 2022;
  •  Have paid rent for their own shelter in 2022; and
  •  Have paid at least 30 per cent of their 2021 adjusted net family income on rent in the 2022 calendar year.

To apply, you do not have to receive other housing benefits, such as the original Canada Housing Benefit, which is co-funded and delivered by the provinces and territories.

The federal government estimates that approximately 1.8 million Canadians, including students, will be eligible to receive this rent support.

HOW CAN RENTERS APPLY? Similar to the approach taken with the Canada Dental Benefit, the CRA has rolled out an attestation-based application process to receive this benefit.

Prospective applicants logging on to their CRA "My Account" or using the direct online form to apply need to be ready to provide some basic information. This includes their address, who they have paid rent to, and how to contact that person.

For those without access to the online systems, the CRA has set up a dedicated line at 1-800-282-8079 with agents that are able to help callers complete applications over the phone.

If applicants have moved throughout the last year, they will also be asked to specify how many months they have spent at certain residences.

The CRA is highly recommending signing up for direct deposit as the fastest and easiest way to receive this funding, noting that the estimated wait time for payments is five business days if signed up for direct deposit, whereas it could take 10 business days to receive a cheque by mail.

Applicants are being asked to keep any relevant documentation to back up their application in case the CRA comes calling in the next six years to validate their eligibility. This includes tax slips, rental property receipts, and landlord contact information. Applicants found to be ineligible will be required to repay the benefit.

The government has vowed that those who receive this help will not see a reduction in other federal income-tested benefits they may be receiving, such as the Canada Child Benefit and GST tax credit.