Transport Canada has unveiled plans to provide $58m funding to extend the interprovincial ferry services in the eastern part of the country until 2016.
The funding is part of Economic Action Plan 2014 and will be used to support ferry operations and maintain and overhaul ferry assets.
It will allow continuous operation of three ferry services between Saint John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia; Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island, and Caribou, Nova Scotia; and Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, and Souris, Prince Edward Island.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said: “Our government understands the importance of these ferry services to the economic sustainability of eastern Canada.
“This investment will enhance the safety and efficiency of the services while greatly benefitting the transport, trade and tourism industries in the region.”
In the past eight years, the government has provided approximately $246m funding for ferry services on the east coast.
Transport Canada said in a statement: “The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the provinces and local communities on a long-term approach for these services.”
It owns four vessels, namely the MV Princess of Acadia, the MV Holiday Island, the MV Confederation and the MV Madeleine, as well as six ferry facilities, which are all leased to private operators.
Bay Ferries operates the MV Princess of Acadia, Northumberland Ferries uses the MV Holiday Island and the MV Confederation vessels, and CTMA Traversier Ltée operates the MV Madeleine.
As part of the plans announced last year, the procurement process to replace the MV Princess of Acadia is ongoing and the new vessel is expected to enter service in 2015.
Image: The MV Princess of Acadia. Photo: courtesy of Maddmaxstar.