COVID-19 has caused many workplaces to shut down or require employees to work from home, and has even led to layoffs and to many people questioning how they will afford their bills.
Because of this, several utilities, banks and other companies say they will offer some leniency around paying bills and are asking people to call customer service lines to discuss options.
Nova Scotia Power said it will not turn off the electricity for people who are unable to pay their bills, and the company is providing options for customers in financial difficulty.
On Monday, Halifax Water said disconnections for non-payment will be suspended for the next 30 days.
For now, people are still required to pay their property taxes in Nova Scotia and are asked to do so online.
Halifax Transit also waived its fares for buses and ferries this week in an effort to practise social distancing.
The country’s six largest banks also announced plans to provide financial relief to those impacted by COVID-19.
Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have all said they will work with customers on a case-by-case basis.
The banks say the support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages and some relief on loans or credit cards. HSBC has also pledged to work with customers facing financial challenges.
Credit unions in Nova Scotia are asking customers to contact their local branches if they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Internet and phone companies have started to offer some leniency for customers. Bell, Eastlink and Telus have temporarily suspended data limits on all home internet plans.
Telus and Koodo are offering flexible payment options for customers and have waived all easy roam charges for customers outside North America, Central America and the Caribbean until the end of April.
Rogers has promised not to suspend or disconnect service for any customers over the next 90 days and will offer flexible payment options for those who are struggling. The company has also waived roaming and long distance fees until April 30.
Here are some customer service numbers:
- Nova Scotia Power: 1-800-428-6230
- Halifax Water: 902-420-9287
- Heritage Gas: 902-466-2003
- BMO: 1-877-788-1923
- CIBC: 1-877-454-9030
- National Bank of Canada: 1-888-835-6281
- RBC: 1-800-769-2511
- Scotiabank: 1-800-472-6842
- TD Bank: 1-888-720-0075
- HSBC: 1-888-310-4722
- Bell Aliant: 1-888-214-7896
- Eastlink: 1-888-345-1111
- Telus: 1-866-558-2273