OTTAWA, Ont.–The Canadian Ferry Operators Association (CFOA) is calling on Infrastructure Canada and Minister Lebel to amend the criteria of the New Building Canada Plan (specifically the short sea shipping category) to allow projects that combine the transportation of goods and passengers to be eligible for funding.
Presented as the “largest and longest infrastructure plan in our nation’s history,” the federal government’s New Building Canada Plan largely ignores a large portion of Canada’s transportation sector: ferries, the association said.
According to CFOA, this demonstrates a lack of understanding of Canada’s infrastructure needs.
Moving 55 million passengers annually and operating in all corners of our country, the ferry sector is an integral part of Canada’s infrastructure.
In many ways, ferries are essential to many Canadians, CFOA said, citing the following factors:
Remote Communities. For some isolated regions, ferries are the only means for transporting goods and people and accessing emergency medical services.
Public Transit. Many ferries in Canada are a component of public transit systems in municipalities, bringing people to work and students to school daily.
Job Creation. Ferries employ more than 9,000 people across the country. They plan to invest more than $1 billion to renew/upgrade their fleets over the next 5 years, creating even more jobs.
“Officials at Infrastructure Canada have confirmed that projects related to urban transit and transportation of goods could be eligible for funding through New Building Canada Plan. Any ferry operation mainly centered on passengers and located outside of an urban centre would not be eligible for funding through this program. While we understand that the transportation of goods is vital to our community, the transportation of people cannot be ignored,” the association said.
Canadians recognize the need for ferries in Canada; they link communities, families and people. And those links don’t end at a city’s limits. Taxpayers and ferry passengers fail to understand why Infrastructure Canada Minister, Denis Lebel, has limited government support to only projects inside urban centres and that transport goods, exclusively, the release stated.
Julia Kuzeljevich is Editor of Canadian Shipper. She has been writing about transportation and logistics issues since 1999. All posts by Julia Kuzeljevich