BC Ferries are seen leaving Horseshoe Bay near West Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 16, 2020. The Canadian Ferry Association says BC Ferries is bleeding cash, with losses of up to $1.5 million per day as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on ridership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

The Canadian Ferry Association says BC Ferries is bleeding cash, with losses of up to $1.5 million per day as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on ridership.

Association CEO Serge Buy says BC Ferries, which makes up more than one-third of the sector’s revenues across the country, has seen a “staggering” 80 per cent decline in traffic over the past three months, leading to the suspension of some routes.

BC Ferries is a private company run by a not-for-profit corporation, but is recognized as provincially owned under federal tax law.

That designation excludes it from Ottawa’s wage subsidy program, prompting the association to ask a House finance committee hearing Tuesday to recommend that BC Ferries be made eligible for support.

Buy says he has made the request repeatedly to federal ministers but received no response.

READ MORE: Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

He also says several ferry operators along the Ottawa River in Quebec and Ontario remain ineligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy because they had no revenue in March, April and May of 2019 — a condition of signing on to the program — due to flooding that prevented operations until June.

Buy says employees and communities should not be victimized by a program they would qualify for ”if only one disaster hit” instead of two.

Buy’s comments came at a committee hearing where other representatives from the transportation industry testified to the plight of regional airlines, public transit and charter bus companies.

READ MORE: BC Ferries passengers asked to avoid all non-essential travel amid pandemic

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

bc ferryeconomy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Have you seen the comet? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance

Rare spectacle will be visible throughout July

‘Resistance’ from Interior Health puts races in Penticton on hold

It’s unknown if races planned for this weekend at the Penticton Speedway will take place

RCMP to investigate hate-motivated vandalism in Summerland

Swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on house and at bandshell

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Add a little Spritz and Cider to your summer

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Summerland home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Fundraiser kick-started for Vernon woman battling tongue cancer

Woman’s four-year-old twins are the driving force behind her fight

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Oliver Town Hall reopens to public as COVID-19 test comes back negative

Town Hall was closed briefly as a staff member showed multiple COVID-19 symptoms

Lake Country beachgoers reminded to maintain distance amid COVID-19

Signage, park rangers, park patrol students in place to monitor busy beaches in Central Okanagan

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Vancouver Island RCMP respond to reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read