Protect Our Province Nova Scotia

Protect Our Province Nova Scotia (PoPNS) is a community care initiative focused on reducing COVID transmission through evidence-based mitigation methods.

đź“Ł Statement in Response to Preventing and Addressing Violence in Nova Scotia Public Schools, 2024

PoPNS Response to Violence in Schools AG Report.pdf

đź“Ł Call for the Premier to recognize COVID-19 Victims on March 21

Protect Our Province - Nova Scotia (PoP-NS) calls on the Premier and Opposition Leaders to Observe a Moment of Silence and Offer Condolences to the Families and Friends of COVID-19 Victims When the House Reopens on March 21st 

Protect Our Province Nova Scotia (PoP-NS) is marking the first anniversary of the Nova Scotia government’s decision to end all COVID-19 protections by calling on the Premier and opposition party leaders to set aside time on the first day of the Sitting to: 

To date, Nova Scotia has officially recorded 807 deaths from COVID-19, but excess death data suggest that number is likely much larger. 575 of those deaths occurred since protections ended.

“The real tragedy is that a large proportion of the people we lost this last year didn’t have to die when they did,” says Janice Brown, a retired lawyer, former civil servant, and PoP-NS volunteer. “Three years into this pandemic, we know a lot more about how dangerous COVID-19 is, how it can be treated, and how its transmission can be effectively prevented. That should have meant fewer people dying of the disease last year. Instead, we witnessed the opposite, with nearly 10 times as many Nova Scotians dying of COVID-19 during the third year of the pandemic as died in either of the first two years. Unless the government changes course, we expect hundreds more will die needlessly in 2023 and beyond,” she says.

This past weekend, PoP-NS sent a letter to Premier Houston, Zach Churchill and Claudia Chender urging them to reflect on the toll the pandemic has taken since public protections against COVID-19 ended on March 21, 2022. The letter notes that, in addition to a ten-fold increase in mortality, removing protections likely resulted in hundreds of thousands being infected, tens of thousands developing long-term health issues, and as-yet incalculable numbers suffering systemic injuries expected to result in long-term illness and disability. Of particular concern are the possible long-term impacts of the disease on children.

Brown adds, “To the best of our knowledge, the Premier hasn’t made a single public statement related to his government’s handling of the pandemic since April of last year - not even to acknowledge the deaths or offer his condolences. Instead, he and his government seem focused on downplaying the crisis and making good information and tools more difficult to access. It’s heartbreaking - especially for those who are grieving. We want the victims’ friends and family to know that they haven’t been forgotten, and that PoPNS is still working to persuade governments and others to do more to help Nova Scotians live safely with COVID-19.”

It’s important to note that the group is not recommending “lock downs” but rather the implementation of a range of  less-restrictive interventions which have proven helpful for mitigating the worst of COVID-19’s impacts - including improved standards for indoor air quality, required masking in essential places, broader access to vaccination, testing and treatment, more support for workers who fall ill, and improved public education. 

Brown concludes, “The best way to honour the memories of those who’ve been lost to COVID-19 is to adopt measures that will help to lessen the human toll of this pandemic and any future pandemics that may occur.”

A copy of the letter sent to the Premier and opposition leaders accompanies this release.

*Correction: There have been 682 deaths since Houston took power, and 575 since protections were lifted in March 2022.

đź“Ł Letter to NS Provincial Leaders

Re: First Anniversary of Lifting Public Protections Against COVID-19 

Dear Mr. Premier, Mr. Churchill and Ms. Chender,

I am writing today on behalf of Protect Our Province - Nova Scotia. As you may know, PoP-NS is one of a network of community-based groups across the country that are working to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in their communities. Our members come from a variety of professions, including education, health, science, public administration, information technology, planning and law. Since convening last summer, we have:

The government’s decision to end virtually all public protections against COVID-19 one year ago has had devastating impacts on individuals and communities. Since that time, at least 575* people have died from the disease (excess death data suggest the real number is likely much larger), hundreds of thousands have been infected, tens of thousands have developed long-term sequelae, and as-yet incalculable numbers are suffering systemic injuries expected to result in long-term illness and disability. We are particularly concerned about the possible long-term impacts of the disease on children.

As data trickle in and research improves our understanding of COVID-19, it’s becoming ever clearer that the decision to allow the virus to rip through our province was deeply flawed. Nova Scotians have suffered terrible losses – from the immeasurable grief of losing loved ones to a preventable disease; to missed business, employment and educational opportunities; to failing healthcare and education systems. The Houston government’s approach to COVID-19 imposed massive emotional, psychological and financial costs on nearly everyone. 

Despite this, the three of you have remained mostly silent in respect to the pandemic over the past year. To the best of our knowledge, the Premier hasn’t publicly acknowledged the fact the pandemic is ongoing since April 2022. None of you has fully and publicly recognized the massive toll the pandemic has taken and is continuing to take, nor offered condolences or meaningful support to those who have lost so much since protections ended. 

We understand you’re scheduled to return to the Legislature on March 21st, which is, of course, the first anniversary of public protections being lifted. We suspect some of you may be tempted to treat the anniversary as a date to celebrate, but it is our fervent hope that you will instead take time to reflect on your responsibilities as elected officials to care for all Nova Scotians (including those who are most vulnerable), and on the painful toll the rushed return to normal has taken. We ask that on the first day of the Sitting you:

We’re all tired of COVID-19. But the pandemic isn’t over and we shouldn’t behave as if it is. Ignoring reality is causing far too much harm. To be clear, we’re not suggesting new “lockdowns”. There are many less-restrictive interventions that would do much to mitigate COVID-19’s worst impacts, including improved indoor air quality standards, required masking in essential places, more support for those who fall ill, timely access to vaccination, testing and treatment, and robust public information campaigns. It’s time to implement them. Nova Scotians need real leaders - those with the courage, compassion and integrity to admit they were wrong and pledge to do better - to lead us through whatever challenges lie ahead. 

Should you wish to discuss any of the above, I and other PoP-NS representatives would be available to meet with you. 


Janice Brown

Conquerall Bank, NS

*Correction: There have been 682 deaths since Houston took power, and 575 since protections were lifted in March 2022.


PoPNS advocates for evidence-based policies to reduce COVID-19 transmission and create an accessible and equitable society. We fight for government transparency, because Nova Scotians have a right to timely, accurate communication and data.


PoPNS aims to provide reliable information about the COVID-19 pandemic to help educate and inform Nova Scotians.

Community care

We undertake pandemic-related community care initiatives to fill gaps left by government inaction.