Service Nova Scotia Minister Geoff MacLellan tabled changes to the Senior Citizens’ Property Tax Rebate Act today, Sept. 20 that will help more low-income seniors access the program.
The rebate program provides up to $800 on municipal property taxes paid during the previous tax year.
Eligibility criteria is being expanded to allow a rebate to include seniors who move out of their primary residence but have paid the previous year’s municipal taxes. With this change, up to 150 more people could be eligible for a rebate.
Ownership of the act is also being transferred from the Department of Community Services to Service Nova Scotia. Service Nova Scotia plans to introduce service delivery efficiencies that will enhance service to clients.
“The rebate program is meant to help older Nova Scotians with low-incomes remain in their homes longer,” said Mr. MacLellan. “These changes extend the rebate to more people and will support improvements in how we deliver services to those who need it.”
Mr. Maclellan also tabled administrative amendments to various Service Nova Scotia acts that streamline processes, clarify and strengthen language and increase enforcement responsibility.
Highlights of the amendments include:
— giving the Deputy Registrar General of Vital Statistics increased enforcement responsibility to terminate a cleric’s and religious body’s registration to solemnize marriages if they fail to comply with the Marriage Act
— update and harmonize limitation periods at three years to make the acts consistent. If someone is in violation of the act, they have three years to be charged. (Collection Agencies Act, Consumer Creditors Conduct Act, Consumer Protection Act, Consumer Reporting Act, Direct Sellers’ Regulation Act, Mortgage Regulation Act)
— update and correct language, for example remove gendered terms like his and workmanlike to ensure the acts apply equally to all Nova Scotians, regardless of gender and marital status (Consumer Protection Act, Petroleum Products Pricing Act, Consumer Reporting Act)
— clarify and enhance regulation-making authority, for example allow the registrar to set new application form requirements (Consumer Protection Act, Consumer Reporting Act)
— update and/or repeal reference to courts and programs that no longer exist, such as removing references to county court and the appeal division (Money-lenders Act, Unconscionable Transactions Relief Act).
These changes are part of ongoing work to modernize legislation and streamline regulations and supports government’s commitment to making services more accessible and efficient for Nova Scotians.