St. John's family left without house after being denied exemption to move home to Nova Scotia

·2 min read
Rebecca Bezanson and her family had been planning a move from St. John's back to Nova Scotia before changes to border rules left her unable to enter the province. (Brandie Myles/Submitted by Rebecca Bezanson - image credit)
Rebecca Bezanson and her family had been planning a move from St. John's back to Nova Scotia before changes to border rules left her unable to enter the province. (Brandie Myles/Submitted by Rebecca Bezanson - image credit)
Rebecca Bezanson and her family had been planning a move from St. John's back to Nova Scotia before changes to border rules left her unable to enter the province.
Rebecca Bezanson and her family had been planning a move from St. John's back to Nova Scotia before changes to border rules left her unable to enter the province.(Brandie Myles/Submitted by Rebecca Bezanson)

A Nova Scotia woman living in St. John's says her family is facing homelessness after selling their Newfoundland home to move to their home province, only to be denied a travel exemption following a sudden rule change.

Rebecca Bezanson had been planning her move back to Nova Scotia for months while staying in Newfoundland to finish her children's school year. She sold both her home and cabin, and purchased a Nova Scotia home in March.

She was planning to move into her new home in June, and applied to the Nova Scotia government on Friday for a travel exemption. However, due to a rule change that came into effect Monday, the province's border is now closed to people looking to move in.

"I won't have any place to live. And they all but said, 'You need to find other accommodation,'" Bezanson told CBC News on Sunday.

Before the rule change was announced in Nova Scotia on Friday, travellers coming from Newfoundland and Labrador were able to enter Nova Scotia if travel was deemed essential or if they were a permanent resident of the province. People moving to the province had to provide proof of their new permanent residence in Nova Scotia.

The rules were changed as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak in the province, whose daily new case counts have topped 100 for several days running, and had an active caseload of 1,572 as of Thursday afternoon.

"If you bought a house and are moving here, you'll have to wait," Premier Iain Rankin said during a provincial update Friday.

It leaves Bezanson in a tough position to find a place to live with her family for the time being.

"To be able to try and find housing last minute with two dogs and two kids is not an easy thing at all. What do I do? Look for an Airbnb? For how long?" she said.

"I'm going to have a mortgage, and I'm going to pay Airbnb vacation prices as if I'm vacationing in my home province."

Bezanson purchased this Nova Scotia home in March but is unable to move in due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
Bezanson purchased this Nova Scotia home in March but is unable to move in due to COVID-19 border restrictions.(Brandie Myles/Submitted by Rebecca Bezanson)

Bezanson said the family is assessing their options.

"I don't know how you can make somebody homeless," she said. "Because that's what [it is]. Nova Scotia is essentially making people homeless."

CBC News asked Nova Scotia's Department of Health and Wellness for comment and a clarification on the province's restriction rules Sunday, and had not received a response as of publication.

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