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Membership in the House

To be eligible for a seat in the House of Assembly, a person must be a Canadian citizen and at least 18 years old. To become a member, a person must run as a candidate in one of the electoral districts, then win an election by receiving the largest number of votes in that electoral district.

Candidates become a member when:

  • They are declared elected by Elections Nova Scotia;
  • Formal notification of election is received by the Chief Clerk of the House of Assembly;
  • They swear the Oath of Allegiance and signs the Roll;
  • They take their assigned seat in the House of Assembly.

Before members take their seat in the House of Assembly, they are known as Members Elect.


The following people are not eligible to be a member of the House:

  • Members of the Senate;
  • Members of the House of Commons;
  • Candidates nominated in a federal electoral district;
  • Anyone holding a paid position in the Government of Canada or Government of Nova Scotia; and
  • Anyone convicted of a crime with a maximum penalty more than five years.

Members or candidates in other jurisdictions and government employees who wish to run in a provincial election must first must resign their positions.

Additionally, conflict of interest may prevent a person from eligibility for membership in the House.


There are several ways that a seat can become vacant. Vacancies occur when a member:

  • Resigns by giving notice to the Speaker;
  • Dies in office;
  • Becomes a member of the Senate;
  • Becomes a nominated candidate for a seat in the House of Commons;
  • Takes a paid position in the federal or provincial government;
  • Is convicted of a crime where the maximum penalty is more than five years; or
  • Is absent from two consecutive sessions of the House.

When a seat becomes vacant, membership in the House of Assembly also comes to an end.