Legislation has been introduced that will strengthen the Coastal Ferry Act to better serve the needs of people in coastal communities.
“British Columbians deserve a ferry service model that puts people first,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “People living in coastal communities depend on the vital service provided by BC Ferries, but for many years they experienced service cuts and climbing fares. Our amendments to the Coastal Ferry Act will put people at the heart of decision making.”
The legislation captures several amendments that will signal an emphasis on public interest within the Coastal Ferry Act but is also intended to capture government’s broader goals. The amendments are based on the recommendations in Blair Redlin’s report on the Coastal Ferry review.
Some highlights of the amendments to the Coastal Ferry Act are that it:
- requires the BC Ferries commissioner to prioritize public interest when regulating ferry services, including consideration of the Province’s greenhouse gas emission targets;
- facilitates the participation of consumer advocates in the BC Ferry commissioner’s regulatory processes to consider the needs of people in the review of ferry services;
- increases the number of BC Ferry Authority directors appointed by government from two to four, to bring a greater public interest perspective to the role of BC Ferries’ shareholders;
- ensures that the BC Ferry Authority oversees the strategic direction of BC Ferries in support of public interest including safe, reliable and affordable coastal ferry services in British Columbia;
- requires the BC Ferry Authority to set term limits when appointing directors to the BC Ferry Services Board, to improve the oversight of BC Ferries; and
- expands definition of ‘executive’ at BC Ferries to include ‘vice-presidents,’ to provide greater transparency and oversight of executive compensation.
Once in force, these amendments are intended to re-frame the model to better reflect public interest and the view that ferry services are an integral part of B.C.'s transportation network.
- The ministry has made a number of other improvements to ferry service. These include:
- Restoring sailings on the majority of ferry routes that were cut in 2014 that will add over 2,700 additional round trips to schedules on 10 minor and northern routes.
- Providing funding to BC Ferries to reduce fares on smaller and northern routes by 15% and freezing fares on major routes. Fares will continue to be frozen this year.
- Reinstating the Monday-Thursday 100% discount for seniors’ passenger fares.