Legislation introduced to support ferry passengers

THE provincial government announced on Wednesday that it is introducing changes to the Coastal Ferry Act to increase oversight of the public interest in delivery of coastal ferry services.

Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, tabled Bill 7 on February 23.

As BC Ferries recovers from the pandemic, the legislative amendments will help ensure people living in B.C.’s coastal communities, and all British Columbians, continue to be well served and supported by the ferry service.

In 2019, based on recommendations in the coastal ferry review conducted by Blair Redlin, the role of BC Ferries’ shareholder, the B.C. Ferry Authority, was expanded to oversee the strategic direction of BC Ferries to support the public interest. Increased oversight is important to ensure affordable and reliable ferry service for all travellers, including those on the 25 routes serving coastal communities.

The legislative amendments will build on the changes made in 2019 by ensuring the authority is better positioned to help work with BC Ferries through challenges resulting from COVID-19, and to support the corporation’s longer-term strategies for the development of the ferry system.

The changes will enable the authority to issue binding resolutions on matters it considers in the public interest. Changes also require the B.C. Ferry Authority to consult with the Public Sector Employers Council and develop executive compensation plans, to ensure BC Ferries’ executive compensation levels do not exceed those provided to similar executives in the B.C. public sector.

To ensure transparency, the authority will be required to publicly report on its resolutions, and BC Ferries will include in its annual reporting the actions it has taken in response to the resolutions.

The B.C. Ferry Authority is established by the Coastal Ferry Act as the sole voting shareholder of BC Ferries.