Web strategy overview

Work continues in transforming the provincial government’s online presence, novascotia.ca, of over 150 domains, 1.9 million pages and 75,000 PDFs into a cohesive experience that better meets users’ needs.

More content has recently moved or is moving onto the new ‘beta’ website throughout September 2020 and March 2021. Content includes:

  • Access Nova Scotia online appointment booking
  • Apply for refund of vaping products tax paid on reserves
  • Child Abuse Register
  • Collective agreements
  • Department of Agriculture (department profile content)
  • Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage (department profile content)
  • Department of Community Services
  • Collective agreements
  • Debt Management agent Licence
  • Debt Management Company Licence
  • Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Department of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labour and Advanced Education (department profile content)
  • Department of Lands and Forestry
  • Employee contact directory
  • Executive Council Office (department profile content)
  • Fine payments
  • Funding (Municipal Grants)
  • GeoNOVA
  • Health card
  • Insurance Claims
  • Make a payment on your Collections Services account
  • Municipal Elections
  • Office of Aboriginal Affairs (department profile content)
  • Office of Acadian Affairs (department profile content)
  • Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs (department profile content)
  • Office of Gaelic Affairs
  • Office of Immigration (department profile content)
  • Online Dealer Services
  • Online Driver's Licence Renewal
  • Open Data
  • Pay a parking ticket online
  • Pay a privilege reinstatement (defaulted fine) fee: Registry of Motor Vehicles
  • Pay for a road test (driving test)
  • Public services sustainability
  • Registry of motor vehicles
  • Renew a Debt agent Licence
  • Renew a Debt Management Company Licence
  • Restitution payments
  • Sportfishing
  • Tenders
  • Vehicle Permit Renewal

For content not yet on the improved website, you will need to visit their old websites linked from the improved website to find their content.

The updated and improved novascotia.ca focuses on:

  • explaining what government is doing and why
  • providing clearer, easier access to government programs and services
  • sharing information that individuals or businesses are looking for

Where in the world our users come from

Top countries

Canada 91.9%
United States 2.87%
United Kingdom .26%
India 0.48%
All others 4.49%

Based on web analytics data for 01 December 2020 - 31 January 2021

Within Canada

Nova Scotia 79.4%
Ontario 7.88%
Quebec 3.81%
New Brunswick 3.11%
Alberta 1.25%
British Columbia 1.16%
Prince Edward Island 1.48%
Newfoundland 1.43%
Manitoba 0.22%
Saskatchewan 0.16%

Based on web analytics data for 01 December 2020 - 31 January 2021

Project scope

The project applies to all of government’s public-facing websites, including individual department websites and over 150 department-related domains.

Websites that are out of scope of this project include websites for legislative offices and entities that are arms-length from government such as agencies, boards or commissions (like artsns.ca, gamingns.ca and novascotia.com) and often have nongovernment URLs.

Department intranet and extranet websites are also excluded from this project.

Project phases and timeline

13out of 30 departments and offices have moved

The first phase involves publishing web content. Since October 2018, content from 13 departments moved onto the new website:

  • Communications Nova Scotia
  • Department of Business
  • Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Department of Energy and Mines
  • Department of Finance and Treasury Board
  • Department of Labour and Advanced Education
  • Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Department of Seniors
  • Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services
  • Emergency Management Office
  • Office of the Fire Marshal
  • Office of Workplace Mental Health
  • Public Service Commission

Other departments are working on finalizing their content, which will be updated and are targeted to go online throughout 2021.

Government will continue to work on redeveloping transactions (like forms and web applications), documents, charts, visuals and other web assets. This first ‘publishing content’ phase includes “starter” web pages for current transactions and documents. The information on these pages makes it easy for users to understand where and how they can complete a task.

The ongoing web content maintenance program with content leads ensures information remains accurate and up-to-date moving forward.

Content and structure

pages published
paper plane
pieces ready to publish
pieces of content translated
code file
content teams

We’re applying content criteria to remove outdated, inaccurate and unneeded content to make sure that only the information users need is online.

Because most users come to government’s websites looking for a specific program or service, content is organized with user needs in mind. The updated website uses plain language that the public can easily understand. The design of the website is clean and simple, and optimized to improve access for everyone, regardless of their ability, device, situation, or location.

Following user flow testing, user research and best practices, information is being published in one place and we’re arranging the content by topics, services, programs, departments or by searching so it’s easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Users won’t have to understand government’s organizational structure to find what they’re looking for.

Retiring old websites

More than
redirects configured

When content is launched on the updated website, the old web pages will be retired and archived.

URLs from the old web pages will redirect to the same content on the updated web pages whenever possible. If a piece of content from the old website wasn’t included on the updated website, the user will be redirected to the department that owns it.


The improved website also sets a new standard for user accessibility, whether they’re using a computer, a mobile phone or assistive technology.

Many of the PDFs online aren’t accessible to users with disabilities. Web publishing requirements and standards will be reviewed and updated as part of government's accessibility plan for Nova Scotia.

Mobile 39%
Desktop 56%
Tablet 5%

Based on web analytics data for 01 December 2020 - 31 January 2021