Mary Jane Saunders
MJ Saunders, Wills & Estates


Moving a loved one into a long term care facility (nursing home or residential care facility) can be a difficult transition and layered on top of the stress of moving into a new environment can be the stress of paying for the new accommodations.

Set out below is a summary of the Resident Charge Policy[1] issued by the Department of Health & Wellness (the “Department”), which describes how accommodation charges for living in a long term care facility are determined:

  • Each year the Department sets a standard accommodation charge (the “Standard Rate”) and residents are to be notified of this charge at least 30 days prior to the effective date (November 1st);
  • Individuals may apply to have the Standard Rate reduced, but such an application will require an income test to be completed and the income test will be completed annually to determine whether a reduced rate is still applicable;
  • The Department does not consider what assets an individual owns when determining the applicable rate, it only considers income;
  • Income is assessed based on the individuals (and if applicable their spouse) “net income” less “total taxes payable” as reported on their income tax returns;
  • If an individual does not file their income information prior to June 30th of each year they will automatically be assessed at the Standard Rate;
  • For single, divorced or widowed individuals, 85% of their assessed income will be applied to the accommodation charge and for individuals who are married or in a common-law or domestic partnership, 60% of their combined income is retained by the spouse if they remain residing in the community; and
  • Notwithstanding the above percentages there is a minimum amount of income that individuals are entitled to keep and this amount is adjusted annually.

For more information pertaining to Long Term Care in Nova Scotia you may wish to visit 

This article is meant to be for information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or opinion. If you have any further questions please consult a lawyer. Many of the statements in this blog post are general principles which may vary depending on each person’s situation.

[1] Resident Charge Policy, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness Continuing Care Branch, November 1, 2016