Self Employment

Self-Employment is an employment program of Employment Nova Scotia that assists unemployed eligible individuals create jobs for themselves by starting a business.

Program Information

Program objective

The Self Employment (SE) program provides entrepreneurial support and financial assistance to eligible unemployed participants starting their own business.  Entrepreneurial support may include orientation, information sessions and/or workshops, coaching, mentoring, and access to specific business implementation training to enable participants to develop and implement their business plans.

Who delivers Self-Employment?

Employment Nova Scotia delivers Self-Employment and other Employment Benefits and Support Measures in Nova Scotia.

Eligibility Information

Am I eligible for participation in Self-Employment?

To be eligible for participation in Self-Employment, you must be an unemployed individual ("insured participant") as defined by Section 58 of the Employment Insurance Act. This means that you are an individual for whom:

  • an unemployment benefit period has been established or has ended within three years prior to the date of requesting assistance; or
  • a benefit period that included a maternity or parental claim has been established within the five years prior to the date of requesting assistance, after which you remained out of the labour market in order to care for a newborn or newly adopted child and are now seeking to re-enter the labour force.

Other criteria may apply.

What else do I need to know?

  • The date your completed application is received by Employment Nova Scotia is the date when you are considered to have requested assistance. This date is used to determine whether you qualify as an "insured participant" within the timeframes outlined above.
  • If you are currently receiving Employment Insurance, you may continue to receive your regular Employment Insurance benefits until the end of your benefit period, after which you may be eligible to receive a living allowance to the end of your Self-Employment agreement.
  • If you are not in receipt of Employment Insurance benefits, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance for living expenses.
  • Temporary financial assistance may be provided in exceptional circumstances to cover all or part of the following costs related to participation (e.g., dependent care, disability needs, tuition costs, transportation and accommodation).
  • The maximum duration of an agreement with a participant is 40 weeks.
  • Self-Employment fact sheet

Application Information

How do I apply?
  • As part of the application process, it is necessary for you to receive an employment assessment and develop a Return to Work Action Plan with a case manager. The case manager's decision is required before Employment Nova Scotia can assess your application. If you are interested in this program, the first step is visit a Nova Scotia Works Centre in your local area who will advise you on your options and help you with your Self-Employment application process.


Forms for Self-Employment Providers

Contact Information