Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Affordable Access Program?

The Affordable Access Program allows qualified individuals to apply for municipal subsidized programs. This new intake process will allow residents to apply once and have their application package sent to all the programs that they wish to apply for.

How do I submit my application?

1.    Submit your application online by sending to:

AffordableAccess@halifax.ca 

Please use the subject line format below:
[First, Middle, and Last Name, Affordable Access Application]

Note: we recommend that you email your application to ensure that your application is received and processed in a timely manner. 

2.    Submit it in person at the following locations:

Your local Community Recreation Centre

  • For a list of community recreation centres, click here
  • If you would like more information on your closest Recreation Centre, please call 311

The Customer Contact Centre closest to you

  • For a list of customer contact centres, click here
  • If you would like more information on your closest Customer Contact Centre, please call 311

3.   Submit it by mail:
Halifax Regional Municipality
Attention: Affordable Access Program
PO Box 1749
Halifax, NS, Canada 
B3J 3A5

What are the deadlines for the program?

Program Name Deadlines
Program Name Deadlines
Property Tax Exemption and Deferral Programs • August 15 each year for an exemption on your final tax bill.
• December 31 each year for an exemption applied to the interim (mid-year) tax bill the following year.
Affordable Access Transit Pass • Applications opens mid-May each year and applications are processed on a first come first served basis.
• Program is open from July to June of the following year.
Recreation Funding Access Program • There are no deadlines associated with this program.
• You must reapply on an annual basis from the month you first applied.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

  • Call 311
  • Contact your local Recreation Centre 
  • Come into any of our Customer Service Centres

Property Tax Exemption and Deferral Programs 

Who can apply?

  • The registered owner or co-owner of the property. Registration means that the title to the property is registered with the Nova Scotia Land Registry of Deeds in your name

    • If there is more than one owner, all owners must sign the application form unless they live out of province

  • All persons residing on the property must be disclosed on the application form

  • If there is a living interest, title by adverse possession, power of attorney, or formal trustee, additional information is required. (Copy of the will or trustee papers). Please call 311 for assistance

  • The combined gross household income and/or proof of net world income of all persons living on the property must be $35,000 or less

  • The property must be your permanent place of residence (your “home”) not a cottage, second home, investment property holding, vacant lot, or income property

  • A "home" includes a condominium, a mobile home, or a duplex

    • A deferral of property tax is not permitted if the property is a mobile home on land not owned by the homeowner

  • If the property is assessed as Residential and Commercial or Residential Resource, only the Residential portion can be used to calculate the value of any rebate

How will my exemption be awarded?

  •  If you have any debt to the municipality (such as overdue fees, fines, or payment arrears) any credit awarded due to a rebate will be posted as a payment against taxes first then other amounts owed
  • Applications processed and approved by August 15th will have line item credit on the final bill and applications received after August 15th will have a line item credit on the following year’s interim (mid-year) tax bill

When is a deferral not possible?

  • a deferral cannot be awarded to customers whose property tax is paid by a bank as part of a mortgage.
  • the total amount of all taxes or charges deferred cannot exceed 75% of the assessed value of the property.
  • a deferral cannot be back-dated, it only applies to the fiscal year in which you make application. Annual application is required to maintain previously deferred balances. 
  • you cannot defer: Dangerous and Unsightly Premises fines, Snow and Ice Removal fines, Solid Waste (garbage) fines, False Alarm charges, Commercial or Resource Property Tax, or Legal Fees.

Are there any Special Circumstances to be aware of?

  • Representation by a Trustee, Guardian or Power of Attorney: If the owner of the property has a court appointed trustee, guardian or power of attorney, they must submit proof in the form of legal documentation to the municipality in order for staff to release any information.
  • Representation by a Friend or Family Member: If the owner has a friend or family member representing them, or applying to the program on their behalf, a letter signed by the registered owner must be submitted to the municipality in order for staff to release information.
  • Death of a Joint Owner: If a joint owner of a property dies, their name needs to be removed from the “tax roll” so they do not receive future tax bills. A copy of the death certificate needs to be sent to Dartmouth Registry of Deeds Office so that the ownership record for the property is correct.

Affordable Access Transit Pass Program

How many people can participate in the program?

The program is capped at 2,000 people. Applications will be received and approved on a first-come, first-served basis.

How do I know if I qualify?

In order to qualify, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • you must live in the Halifax Regional Municipality
  • your combined gross household* income is less than or equal to $35,000
  • you do not receive a transportation subsidy under the Nova Scotia Employment Support and Income Assistance program
  • you are an adult (over 18 years of age)

*A household is all family members living in the same home related by blood, marriage, common-law or adoption. Roommates are not considered part of the household. Adults are considered persons 18 years and over.

What do I need to apply?

In order to apply, applicants must:

  • complete, in full, the Affordable Access Transit Pass program application 
  • provide a copy of the previous year’s Notice of Assessment or Proof of Income Statement (Option 'C') from the Canada Revenue Agency. This includes members of the household not applying for the program. Full-time adult students are not required to submit a Notice of Assessment or Proof of Income. Revenue Canada requires 10 business days to process a Notice of Assessment request; alternatively, you may obtain a copy of your own notice of assessment online; OR;
  •  provide a letter from the NS Department of Community Services or Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
  • provide your Canada Revenue Statement of Business or Rental Activities, as well as your personal income tax Notice of Assessment if you are self-employed

Why do I need to provide my household income?

The intent of the program is to improve the accessibility of transit service to low income residents; therefore, it’s important to determine the income of all adult residents in a household.

When will the application be available?

The application forms are available starting Tuesday, May 14, and will be accepted beginning Tuesday, May 21 at municipal Customer Service Centres and municipally owned Recreation Centres. Carefully review the application to ensure you have all the documentation required.

Is there anyone who can help me with my application?

Yes. If you need help with your application form, visit a Customer Service Centre, your local library or community recreation centre.

What is the deadline for applications?

There is no deadline for the applications. The program will remain open until filled.

How do I know if I have been accepted into the program?

Successful applicants will be notified of their status via mail. Only successful applicants will be contacted.

If selected to participate in the program, how do I get my passes?

Successful applicants will receive a letter from the municipality informing them that they are to be part of the Affordable Access Transit Pass Program. For each month of the program, participants need only bring a photo ID to one of the five Customer Service Centres.

There is no obligation to purchase a monthly pass every month however, in August 2017, Regional Council approved an amendment to the Affordable Access Transit Pass Program which allows Halifax Transit to remove inactive participants (i.e. those who have not purchased a pass for six consecutive months) to allow approved applicants on the wait list to enter the program. This motion was based on the pilot program findings that 14% of participants did not purchase any passes through the duration of the six-month pilot. If a participant purchases one pass every 3 - 4 months, they remain enrolled in the program. The amendment only applies to those who do not purchase a pass for 6 consecutive months. 

Is there a waiting list?

Yes. Completed applications continue to be accepted at municipal Customer Service Centres and successful applicants will be placed on a waiting list. Applicants will be notified via mail or email if or when passes become available.

Recreation Funding Access Program

Can I apply for my nieces/nephews?

No, children and youth who qualify for the program must reside in your home and be your dependents. 

Are there any limits on the number of programs I can apply to?

If you qualify for the program, you are welcome to apply to any number of programs for yourself or your family members. 

What is the deadline for applications?

All application information must be received at least two weeks prior to the start of any program you are interested in registering for. If received later, your application will be processed and the discount available for the next time you register for a program.

Can I create a single account for my entire family?

Yes, however you will need to set up an account in the name of the primary contact person and then by stating it’s a group account you are able to add family members names to the new account. You can set your account up online or by visiting your local recreation centre. 

Does this program apply to seniors?

No, this program is designed for people under the age of 55. All seniors automatically get discounts based on age for programs and are not required to apply separately. 

Are Facility Rentals included?

No, facility rentals are not discounted but there are not-for-profit and youth rates available. Please contact your local Recreation Centre for more information.

Do I need to reapply?

Yes. For example, if you applied in October of one year you will need to reapply in October of the following year. This is an annual program only and your discounts will not be carried over. 

If you are applying to the Affordable Access Program and would like to provide feedback, please fill out and submit our Feedback Survey.