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Funding for the BC Ferry System

WHEREAS the BC Ferry system is part of the Trans Canada Highway and is critical to the
economies of the communities it connects;

WHEREAS Vancouver Island communities continue to have accessibility and affordability
challenges travelling to the Mainland for work, leisure and medical purposes;

WHEREAS the continued rise in population of communities on Vancouver Island will place
additional stress on the BC Ferry system and a financial burden on middle class families;

WHEREAS Transport Canada provides an annual grant of approximately $30 million in an
operating subsidy to the Province of British Columbia. This funding has been set out in a
binding legal agreement since 1977;

WHEREAS the Province of BC has been lobbying the Government of Canada to change the
funding rules that have shut out BC Ferries from federal financial support for its terminals and
ships;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada take the
following actions to make vehicle and foot passenger ferry service on the main routes from the
BC Mainland to Nanaimo and Victoria more affordable to users:

  • increase the amount of federal contributions towards operating costs provided by
    Transport Canada; and
  • amend the eligibility criteria in the New Building Canada Fund to provide funding for
    capital improvements to ferry infrastructure, including ferry terminals and new vessels;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of
Canada to consult with the Province of BC, First Nations, the Federation of BC Municipalities
and other relevant stakeholders to develop a comprehensive and equitable policy.

 

NANAIMO– LADYSMITH
COWICHAN– MALAHAT—LANGFORD
COURTENAY– ALBERNI

Contact: Susan Stevenson
susteven@shaw.ca


 

BACKGROUNDER

Funding for the BC Ferry System

The current cost of a round trip for a car and driver between Nanaimo and Vancouver is $149.50 for 138.4 km, which equals $1.08 per kilometer.  By comparison, the cost of a round trip for a car and driver between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is $321.42 for 356 km, which equals $0.87 per kilometer.

The Ferry Services Contribution Program provides funding that supports inter-provincial ferry transportation in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec.  Through this Program, Transport Canada ensures that federally owned ferry assets are part of a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation system.  Funding is provided for ferry operations and maintaining ferry assets.

In addition to the Ferry Services Contribution Program, since 1977 Transport Canada provides an annual grant to the Province of BC, indexed to the Vancouver Consumer Price Index.

There is an inequity between the West Coast and the East Coast when the subsidies provided to the Atlantic provinces for both operating and capital costs and the dramatic population growth on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are taken into consideration.

Obtaining additional federal funding could ease the financial strain on BC Ferries and potentially lessen future fare hikes.

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