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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Kootenay teachers’ union going to labour relations board over COVID-19 related work conditions

Union issues open letter to premier, education minister, health minister and Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Trail market goes garlic

The event goes Saturday in downtown Trail from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Two men killed in Hwy 3 collision west of Castlegar

The single-vehicle incident happened Thursday morning

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read