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

VIDEO: Record turnout for third annual Langley car show against cancer

Brogan’s Diner Fight Against Cancer Car Show was turned into a road trip because of COVID-19

Langley artist Lalita Hamill launches new website to showcase art and share instructional videos

A Zoom session on Saturday, July 18, will serve as a free art assessment and critique at 10 a.m.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Ryan’s Regards: Will the air travel industry once again take flight?

With airlines grounded and staff laid off, going abroad could be more difficult beyond COVID-19

Vandals deface Aldergrove elementary school with racist slur, male genitalia

Langley School District confirms it has filed a report with the Langley RCMP

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Fraser Valley loses the Keith Wilson Waver as Ron Hupper passes away

Hupper brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people traveling Chilliwack’s Keith Wilson Road

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Most Read