COVID-19: Production in Nova Scotia

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The Government of Nova Scotia issued a provincial State of Emergency on March 22nd, 2020 which is currently still in effect. A Health Protection Order (HPO) is also in effect. However, the original Public Health Order (PHO) arising from the COVID-19 pandemic did not mandate businesses in the film and television sector to shut down and therefore they have remained open and can continue to operate going forward.

On May 7th, 2021, Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer, and N.S. Premier, Iain Rankin, announced further restrictions. These restrictions have not changed the way productions operate (with the exception of immigration/travel — please see the travel section below). Currently, once the production team has a reliable health and safety plan in place, production can happen. For the film and television industry, this currently means:

  • Group gatherings should be limited in accordance with Public Health guidance HERE.
  • Residents of Atlantic Canada (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador) are able to travel to Nova Scotia for any reason without having to self-isolate.
  • Those travelling from within Canada can enter for any reason but will have isolation requirements based on their vaccination status and testing (view those requirements HERE)
  • Please see the travel process below for Canadians (with the exception of those from Atlantic Canada) and Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) entering the province to work on a film production.

Further information regarding the Nova Scotia State of Emergency and the Health Protection Order can be found HERE. For the province’s multi-phase Reopening Plan, click HERE. Please note: we are currently in Phase 4. 

As always, Screen Nova Scotia is here to support your production plans. If you have any questions or concerns after reading this page, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.


HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDELINES 

Health & Safety Guidelines: The health and safety of all individuals working on production is a top concern during COVID-19. Screen Nova Scotia’s “COVID-19 Related Health & Safety Guidelines for the Screen Industry” are intended to provide guidance to the Screen Industry as they navigate COVID-19 specific risk exposure, during the production of film and television in Nova Scotia.

These COVID-19 related guidelines were developed to incorporate expert advice, allow for alignment with provincial and federal public health and safety protocols, and promote the safe return to work in our industry prior to the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. The guidelines were approved by the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, as well as the Dept of Labour and Advanced Education. Screen Nova Scotia will continue to monitor and update these guidelines as required to ensure they reflect the restrictions in place. 

Click HERE to view and download Screen Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Related Health & Safety Guidelines for the Screen Industry. Please note: the guidelines have recently undergone a full update and review (June 2021). 

Department Specific Appendices: Screen Nova Scotia’s Health and Safety Committee has drafted a set of suggested practices for specific departments as appendices. These supplemental guidelines act as a complement to the COVID-19 Related Health & Safety Guidelines for the Screen Industry and will aid productions in developing their own set of show-specific customized protocols.

The appendices are intended as basic guidelines for those departments that will be most impacted by COVID-19 procedures. They have been compiled by the SNS Health and Safety Committee in consultation with DGC-ARC, IATSE Locals 849 and 667, and ACTRA Maritimes, with content from local, national and international documents. They are intended to help producers, cast, and crew navigate working conditions as currently prescribed by the Public Health Order.

Click HERE to view and download the Departmental Appendices to Screen Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Related Health & Safety Guidelines for the Screen Industry.


TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS 

CANADA: Nova Scotia’s borders are now open to residents of Canada, with isolation requirements based on their vaccination status.

Residents of Atlantic Canada (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador) are able to travel to Nova Scotia for any reason without having to self-isolate

Canadian travellers from outside the Atlantic Provinces are required to register through the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form HERE and are no longer required to submit an application justifying why the travel is considered essential. They will have specific isolation requirements based on their vaccination status and testing. The isolation requirements are:

  • People who have had two doses of vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia are allowed in without self-isolating.  
  • People who have had one dose of vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia must self-isolate for at least seven days and cannot leave isolation until they get two negative tests results while in Nova Scotia; tests should be on day one or two and on day five or six.
  • People who have not had any vaccine and those who had a first dose within 14 days of arrival must isolate for 14 days; testing at the beginning and end of their isolation continues to be recommended.

This information is also available the Nova Scotia Government website HERE

INTERNATIONAL: Currently, people from outside of Canada can only enter Nova Scotia for essential travel. Please read below for specific travel restrictions and the immigration process for workers employed on film productions.

Nova Scotia’s film industry is open for business, which means that a foreign national with a work permit or with a permit application can travel into Canada via the four federally approved international airports (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary). Federally approved Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) travelling to Nova Scotia must register to travel into the province HERE. Eligible travellers would select “regular traveller”, then select “specialized worker” and fill out the remainder of the form. There is no longer an additional application by email or an assessment required./

Work isolation requirements would be dependent on vaccine status, the details of which are described in the Federal Travel Policy, found HERE.

Please note: Starting on August 9th, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: FILMING IN NOVA SCOTIA

Q: What is the current COVID-19 situation in Nova Scotia?
A: On March 22nd, the Province of Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19.  The state of emergency has been renewed, and currently, the province of Nova Scotia has increased restrictions in place. However, these restrictions do not affect businesses in the film and television sectors, which remain open and can continue to operate. For up-to-date data on COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, please click HERE. For the province’s multi-phase Reopening Plan, click HERE. Please note that we are currently in Phase 4. 

Q: Can I film in Nova Scotia? Are there guidelines/protocols in place for filming?
A: The Province of Nova Scotia has confirmed directly to Screen Nova Scotia that the Public Health Order (PHO) arising from the Covid-19 pandemic did not close businesses in the film and television sectors, which therefore remained open, and can continue to operate. Currently, once a production team has a practical and reliable health and safety plan in place, production can happen.

Film and television production has been up and running in the province since June 2020, and the 2021 production season is on track to be one of the busiest years in recent history. For a list of what’s filming, please click HERE.

Click HERE to view and download Screen Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Related Health & Safety Guidelines for the Screen Industry.

Q: Will I need a permit to film? Are permits currently available?
A: Yes, permits are currently available. Permits required for filming in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) can be acquired at the Halifax Film Office, which is open for business. The Halifax Film Office is the first point of contact when filming in the Halifax region — all municipal services can be facilitated in one call, from stop-and-go-traffic to securing municipal locations.

When filming outside the HRM, film permits/permissions are handled through the individual town’s municipal offices. Contacts can be provided by Screen Nova Scotia, or your local production manager and/or locations manager.

Q: Can I bring cast and crew across the Canadian border? What about inter-provincial travel? Are work permits available?
A: Yes. Nova Scotia’s borders are now open to residents of Canada. This means that residents of Atlantic Canada are able to travel to Nova Scotia for any reason without having to self-isolate. Those travelling from within Canada can enter for any reason but will have isolation requirements based on their vaccination status and testing.

Currently, people from outside of Canada can only enter Nova Scotia for essential travel. Please review the travel section above for important additional information on this process.


Q: How can I source PPE for my production?
A: To assist businesses and other organizations in reopening and sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE), the Province has established the Nova Scotia Workplace PPE Supplier Directory. Click HERE to access and download the directory.

Q: What incentives are there for filming in Nova Scotia?
A: Nova Scotia offers several funding programs that make our province one of the most effective and competitive in the country. Please visit our incentives page HERE.

Q: How do I find the right location for my project?
A: Nova Scotia has been an in-demand location for regional and international filmmakers for decades. Located in eastern Canada and almost completely surrounded by ocean, the province of Nova Scotia offers a variety of unique and spectacular locations. With soundstage space and an environmental pool facility used to create realistic marine and underwater scenes, Nova Scotia has the state-of-the-art infrastructure to bring your production to life. Our experienced Locations Manager is standing by to create a free digital image package with inspirational Nova Scotia locations that perfectly match your script. We also offer support for incoming location scouts — more info available on our website HERE.


SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS

For information on financial aid programs for individuals and businesses, please follow the links below:

  • Federal support programs from the Government of Canada HERE.
  • Provincial support programs from the Government of Nova Scotia HERE.