CFOA in the News: Benefitting Local Communities Across Canada

BC Shipping News, September 2015

Kristin Baldwin, Director of Communications

It’s a call that we all dread.  An emergency.  Come as soon as you can.  That was the call received by the Bay Ferries’ Princess of Acadia earlier this summer.  A crewmember onboard a fishing vessel had been injured and needed emergency medical assistance.  The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax dispatched the ferry to perform the rescue.  The individual was treated by medical professionals on board and was transferred to an ambulance when they got to shore.  A fitting task for a passenger vessel that was about to be retired.

A similar event happened just over a week later on our other coast.  The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre dispatched a rescue boat from BC Ferries’ M.V. Quinitsa to save a stranded kayaker from frigid waters just north of Buckley Bay.

This is an element of passenger vessel service that is often overlooked: the role they play in marine emergencies.

The crew onboard ferries in Canada are trained to respond to a host of emergency scenarios.  It’s just another way Canada’s ferries are providing essential services to communities across Canada.  With over 55 million passengers, nearly 19 million vehicles, and more than 260 vessels operating, our ferries have a profound impact in many communities across Canada.

Remote Communities

Navigating our waterways has been an important component of life in Canada since well before the first explorers.  While infrastructure has expanded and populations have grown, there are still parts of Canada that are only accessible by travelling on a ferry.  This means that everything to sustain a community – food, fuel, etc – needs to be put on a vessel before it arrives at its destination.  It also means that the only way tourists can come to these remote places is through a ferry.  Oftentimes ferries are also critical in emergency situations, as a way to get to a hospital.

Communities served only by ferries include:

  • Salt Spring Island, British Columbia (BC Ferries)
  • Pelee Island, Ontario (Pelee Island Transportation Company – seasonal)
  • Moose Factory, Ontario (Ontario Northland – seasonal)

Without the ferry, remote communities would be far more isolated.  This is a prime example of how ferry operators are bringing us all together.

Investing in Local Communities

Ferries create jobs.  It’s just that simple.  Across Canada, ferry operators employ over 9,000 people directly and over 22,600 people indirectly.  But going even further, ferries are also paving the way for future investments.

Marine Atlantic’s new terminal in Nova Scotia is more than just a cutting-edge piece of architecture, but it also provides a solid foundation for future investment in the community and across the province.

Over the next 5 years, ferry operators will be investing more than $1.5 billion to upgrade and renew their fleets, and much of this work can be done here in Canada, creating even more jobs.

Learn More!

Join us in Vancouver at our Annual Conference to learn more!

September 13-15, 2015 at the Marriott Pinnacle.  This year’s theme is “Cutting Edge: New Technologies in the Ferry Sector.”  Across Canada, ferries are looking for new ways to improve passenger’s onboard experience and make their vessels more efficient.

This is an excellent opportunity for operators and suppliers to network and develop business relationships. There are opportunities for suppliers to showcase their products, address conference delegates and meet key contacts from the major ferry operators in Canada.

To register for the 2015 conference or for more information about the work being done by the Canadian Ferry Association, visit our website at