Federal Commitment to Marine Atlantic sign now

The Canadian ferry service across the Gulf of St. Lawrence between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador is a critical link in the Trans Canada Highway System. A full 50 percent of all goods that come to the province do so via Marine Atlantic and 90 percent of all perishable and pharmaceutical products do so via Marine Atlantic. Twenty-seven percent of all visitors to the province arrive via Marine Atlantic.

Responsibility for ensuring the provision of a Gulf ferry service is clearly held by the federal government, while the federal crown corporation, Marine Atlantic Inc., delivers the service under contract for the federal government.

In February 2007, the federal government of Canada introduced a long term strategy for Marine Atlantic which has resulted in increased costs including a fuel surcharge. In addition, there is no real commitment made to fleet renewal - two years to make a plan and then an opportunity to advocate for additional capital investment. And, the federal government made no mention of essential service designation. The federal government rationalized the rate increases based on rising costs including increased costs from pension liabilities from discontinued services.

We petition the federal government of Canada to:
- remove pensions costs related to discontinued services from the formula to - calculate the Marine Atlantic Subsidy
- eliminate the need for a fuel surcharge by including fuel costs in Marine Atlantic's subsidy calculation
- tie future rate increases to actual costs to operate the service between NL and NS and to .75 percent of core CPI
- declare the gulf ferry service an essential service within federal legislation to avoid the threat of actual labour disruptions
- give approval and funding to initiate next fiscal year the construction of a new ferry and the chartering of another vessel to maintain the traffic offering.

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Roland TranBy:
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Government of Canada

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