Summer festivals around the Strait area cancelled

Federal government announces help for students, province to pay extra dispensing fees

This car parade on April 26 in Arichat included local RCMP officers, EHS personnel and volunteer firefighters to boost the morale of St. Ann Community and Nursing Care Centre residents.

HALIFAX: More summer festivals in the Strait area have been cancelled.

Due to the current pandemic, Festival of the Strait 2020 has been cancelled.

“The safety of our committee, suppliers, attendees and everyone involved with a festival is our first priority,” Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said on a Facebook post. “We look forward to an amazing Festival of the Strait 2021.”

Another long-running and popular summer event, the annual Festival acadien de Petit de Grat, scheduled for August 5-9, has also been cancelled.

After seeing the cancellation of other events in the region and for the protection of the health and safety of participants, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and volunteers, organizers announced their decision last week.

While the physical festival has been called off, organizers are considering hosting a virtual talent show to continue celebrating the Acadian language and culture.

Noting it considered the likelihood that public health measures will extend into the summer, the Scotia Days committee said there were many concerns about Mulgrave’s annual summer festival.

“We heavily rely on donations from local businesses and organizations. We do not feel comfortable asking businesses for donations at this time as the business community are impacted by the effects of COVID-19,” a Facebook post from the Scotia Days page reads. “The reluctance of community residents to gather in large crowds after the restrictions are released was another major factor.”

The committee said it will continue planning a “huge celebration” for the 40th Scotia Days Festival scheduled for July 9-18, 2021.

Nova Scotia Summer Fest founder Ray Mattie announced the cancellation of the second year of the music festival slated to take place August 27 and 28 at Keppoch Mountain.

“I held off for a while because we are late August but really it was just a matter of time anyway,” Mattie said. “Getting to this point was a serious amount of work but in the grand scheme of things, there are much bigger matters at play.”

The province will now pay extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients who seek refills for prescriptions that would usually be filled for longer periods. For example, government will cover the second and third refill dispensing fees for prescriptions typically dispensed for 90 days.

In March, the Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists recommended that pharmacists dispense prescriptions every 30 days that would usually be filled for a longer period of time. This step was taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect the drug supply and is similar to measures in place in other parts of the country.

“We understand some people are feeling the financial strain of additional dispensing fees,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This will help people keep a little more money in their pockets, while protecting the drug supply to ensure Nova Scotians can get the medications they need.”

The government will also waive the $5 prescription co-pay for clients of the Income Assistance program and the Low Income Pharmacare for Children program.

Since April 17, Nova Scotia RCMP has charged a total of 161 people with offences related to the current provincial State of Emergency in Nova Scotia.

Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway also announced federal supports to students.

“Whether you’ve recently graduated and were looking forward to starting your career, or you’re still in school and counting on summer employment to pay tuition, or pursuing a national service opportunity – our government has your back,” the MP said in a Facebook post. “We are ensuring that Canadian students have the help they need to continue their studies, and that young Canadians can get the experience they need to start their careers.”

The new Canada Emergency Student Benefit is meant to help students and recent graduates not covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and will run from May to August.

The measures include $1,250 per month from May through August for eligible students, and $1,750 for students with dependents or permanent disabilities.

The federal government vows to help young people gain valuable work experience – even in the face of COVID-19 – by introducing the new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG). This grant will provide up to $5,000 for a student’s education in the fall, for students who work in national service positions through organizations within their community.

The feds are also expanding the number of micro-grants available from 1,800 to 15,000 for people aged 15 to 30. These micro-grants provide youth the opportunity to design and lead service projects that respond to unique needs in their communities in the context of COVID-19.

There will also be tuition support for students to continue their studies in the fall, including doubling the Canada Students Grants Program; broadening the eligibility for Student Financial Assistance; enhancing the Canada Student Loans Program; increasing support for Indigenous post-secondary education; and extending expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships as federal research grants.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada advised the public that angling for all species of fish in the inland and tidal waters of Nova Scotia, including the Bras d’Or Lakes, is prohibited until April 30.

This order does not apply to fisheries where a person holds a licence issued under the Atlantic Fisheries Regulations of 1985. Conversations continue between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Province of Nova Scotia and decisions will be made prior to May 1 whether this closure will continue.