Travel Advisory: COVID-19 Update - Important information - Last updated January 11, 2021 View ×

BC Ferries remains committed to ensuring coastal communities have reliable access to essential goods and supplies. Our priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, and the company will strictly adhere to provincial and federal guidelines.

We encourage our customers to continue to heed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to be calm, be kind, and be safe. Our vessel and terminal staff are working hard to adjust to changing circumstances and to implement protocols and procedures that keep everyone safe and healthy. BC Ferries does not tolerate any abuse, including verbal abuse, towards its employees. A customer who abuses an employee will be denied service.

On January 7, 2021 Dr. Bonnie Henry announced an update to the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021), for more information click here. BC Ferries advises customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time – this includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. If this new Provincial Health Officer restriction affects your travel plans please contact us to change or cancel your booking. Reservations fees for existing bookings will be refunded if travel must be cancelled as a result of Provincial Health Order (PHO) travel restrictions, please contact us in advance of travel. This applies to travel occurring during the PHO travel restriction period. 

 

Masks are mandatory

All passengers must wear non-medical masks or face coverings when at terminals and on board ferries except:

  • When inside a vehicle
  • When consuming food or drinks, provided physical distancing is maintained
  • Children under 2 years of age
  • Medical condition or disability that inhibits the ability to wear a mask
  • Persons unable to place or remove a mask without assistance
  • BC Ferries employees working behind a physical barrier or within employee only areas provided physical distancing is maintained

 

* In the event that a passenger cannot wear a mask or face covering due to medical reasons, BC Ferries may require passengers to present documentation from a healthcare professional. This is a new Transport Canada requirement for ferry operators across Canada.

Passengers are reminded to continue to maintain physical distance while wearing a mask.
 
As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a mask should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping.

 

Transport Canada - Closed deck regulation - reinstatement on September 30th

The temporary flexibility Transport Canada granted ferry operators that allows passengers to remain in their vehicle on enclosed vehicle decks is being rescinded by the regulator on September 30th, 2020. Transport Canada allowed this temporary flexibility earlier this summer in response to COVID-19. BC Ferries must comply with Transport Canada regulations. Starting on September 30th, passengers loaded on enclosed lower decks will be required to leave their vehicles.

Learn more about the reinstatement of the Transport Canada regulation

View frequently asked questions

 

Transport Canada - COVID-19 screening

For any route longer than 30 minutes, BC Ferries will screen all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and restrict travel to any customer that does not meet the screening requirements, as per the federal guidelines.

Prior to entering a BC Ferries’ terminal, customers need to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you have a fever and a cough?
  2. Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
  3. Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
  4. Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order? Note: A provincial/territorial or local public health order is typically a quarantine order issued to a person who has tested positive or is presumed positive to COVID-19
  5. Are you in possession of a face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and do you agree to wear this covering when outside your vehicle at terminals and while on board ferries?

If you answer yes to any of questions 1 to 4 and/or no to question 5 above, or refuse to answer any of the questions, BC Ferries will deny you boarding. Customers not displaying symptoms and under a directive to self-isolate at home may be permitted on board but will be required to maintain physical distance by remaining in their vehicle.

BC Ferries has implemented measures in order to ensure that customers with serious medical conditions and a need for time sensitive treatments are able to continue to travel. Customers can communicate their travel needs to the ticket agent when they arrive at the terminal. Reservations are recommended, but non-reserved travel will be prioritized based on the essential travel needs.

View more details on Transport Canada’s announcement

Book in advance to avoid lengthy waits as sailings are limited. Check-in processing takes longer due to screening protocols in place.
 

Malahat Nation

Malahat Nation is currently under a Shelter in Place order that took effect January 8, 2021.

We ask that all Mill Bay ferry customers please wear a mask when on, or transiting to BC Ferries Mill Bay terminal outside of a vehicle. Commuting customers please see the request below from Malahat Nation regarding parking on Mill Bay Road.

For further information, please see malahatnation.com.

 

Northern routes

For more information on our current Northern schedules, visit bcferries.com/schedules.

Many communities served by BC Ferries have issued advisories to travelers notifying them of limited supplies, healthcare equipment and resources. These communities include Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, Klemtu, and Bella Coola. Customers should inform themselves of local situations and remain committed to essential travel only.
For more information about travel and restrictions in these northern communities, see:

Foot passengers

When travelling, we require customers wear a face covering onboard or in our terminals. Reservations for foot passengers are available for travel between Tsawwassen - Southern Gulf Islands and our North Coast routes, and can now be made online.  On all other routes, foot passengers will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis until passenger capacity has been reached, and tickets may be purchased at the terminal.

 

BC Ferries Vacations

Customers with BC Ferries Vacation bookings affected by the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 - February 5, 2021) can contact us to change or cancel their booking. If you require immediate assistance, please contact BC Ferries Vacations at 1-888-223-3779 Ext. 3, or email vacations@bcferries.com. Vacations Call Centre business hours are:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5 pm
  • Weekends and statutory holidays: 9 am – 5 pm

 

Additional information

  • Customers requiring wheelchair assistance: We are unable to provide wheelchair assistance at terminals or on board ferries. If you require a wheelchair, request one at the terminal. We ask that you travel with your own wheelchair assistant if required.

  • For more information on travelling with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 Pandemic click here
  • Updates from our President and CEO Mark Collins

Vehicles with U.S. license plates travelling on the Ferries

Canada Border Services Agency is screening people entering Canada at the borders. BC Ferries does not have a mandate to restrict travel.

 

We’re in this together

We are proud of the work our dedicated employees continue to provide during this situation. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to ensure continued safe transport of critical goods and supplies to coastal B.C. communities. If you have a chance to relay a ‘thank-you’ to our teams online, please do.

BC Ferries provides a lifeline to remote and to coastal communities in British Columbia, and will continue to provide vital services, such as delivering medical supplies and groceries to support communities.

For more information on all the steps BC Ferries is taking during COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 response page. For more information on schedules visit bcferries.com/schedules. BC Ferries hopes to resume the levels of service customers have come to expect soon.

Read more

For Immediate Release
20-041
August 20, 2020

BC Ferries releases first quarter results


VICTORIA – BC Ferries released its first quarter results today for the three months ended June 30, 2020. The COVID-19 global pandemic had a significant impact on first quarter results. Net losses for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were $62 million, compared to net earnings of $12.2 million for the same quarter of the previous year.

“While COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on our business, I want to express my deep appreciation to our frontline staff who came to work every day in the depths of the pandemic to provide lifeline service to coastal communities,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “I also want to thank our customers for their patience as we all work towards a new normal.”

Revenue for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, at $137.4 million, was down $109 million year-over-year. This impact to earnings was partially offset by reductions in operating expenses of $36.7 million compared to the same quarter of the prior year.

In response to COVID-19, BC Ferries deferred capital expenditures and has, and will continue to, reduce discretionary spending while operating a sustainable, safe and reliable service. The company also worked with the Province to reduce sailings to match the significant drop in traffic.

“We made prudent decisions to remove costs for the health of the ferry system. This is decisive action to safeguard the coastal ferry service for the long term, while continuing to provide essential services to customers and communities,” said Collins. “We have been bringing back service capacity to coastal communities ahead of gradually increasing demand.”
At the outset of the pandemic, ferry traffic dropped dramatically and was down 75 to 80 per cent across the system in a matter of days. With the Province’s recent easing of travel restrictions, traffic at the end of June partially recovered and was down approximately 35 per cent compared to this period last year.

During the three months ended June 30, 2020, BC Ferries delivered 18,249.5 round trips, a decrease of 2,340 or 11.4 per cent compared to the same period in the prior year. The company carried 2.2 million passengers and 1.3 million vehicles during the quarter, a decrease of 61.5 per cent and 46.7 per cent, respectively, compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

On August 11, 2020, the Province announced BC Ferries is one of the entities included in the federal government’s previously announced transit funding of $540 million in response to the impact of COVID-19. This transit funding is to be matched equally by the Province for a total funding envelope of $1.08 billion.

As part of the company’s capital plan, in mid-June 2020 BC Ferries brought into service two new Island Class vessels. Island Discovery now sails on the Powell River – Texada Island route and Island Aurora commenced service between Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula Island. These two new Island Class vessels are hybrid-electric ships designed for future full electric operation. The addition of these vessels allowed for the retirement of two older ships. BC Ferries will carry on with essential investments in safety and core services, as well as construction of four more Island Class ferries and one additional Salish Class ferry currently underway.

As the company responds to COVID-19, it will continue to provide resilient ferry service in the public interest. BC Ferries will aid B.C. in its economic and social recovery through the vital role it plays in serving the needs of coastal communities.
BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes, and Management’s Discussion and Analysis are filed on SEDAR and will be available at sedar.com.
 
– 30 –

Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.

BC Ferries is one of the largest ferry operators in the world based on passengers transported annually and transportation infrastructure, and carried 21.7 million passengers and 8.8 million vehicles during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020. BC Ferries provides frequent year-round ferry transportation services to the west coast of Canada on 25 routes, currently supported by 36 vessels and 47 terminals, and also manages other remote routes through contracts with independent operators.
 

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release contains certain “forward looking statements”. These statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect management’s expectations regarding our growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities and industry performance and trends. They reflect management’s current internal projections, expectations or beliefs and are based on information currently available to management. Some of the market conditions and factors that have been considered in formulating the assumptions upon which forward looking statements are based include traffic, the Canadian Dollar relative to the US Dollar, fuel costs, construction costs, the state of the local economy, fluctuating financial markets, demographics, tax changes, the requirements of the Coastal Ferry Services Contract, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forward looking statements included in this release include statements with respect to: the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, reductions in discretionary spending, essential investments, and the construction of Island Class and Salish Class ferries. In some cases, forward looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “predict”, “potential”, “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. A number of factors could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward looking statements. In evaluating these statements, prospective investors should specifically consider various factors including, but not limited to, the risks and uncertainties associated with: vendor non-performance; capital market access; interest rate, foreign currency, fuel price, and traffic volume fluctuations; the implementation of major capital projects; security, safety, and environmental incidents; confidential or sensitive information breaches; changes in laws; vessel repair facility limitations; economic regulatory environment changes; tax changes; and Aboriginal rights and title claims.

Actual results may differ materially from any forward looking statement. Although management believes that the forward looking statements contained in this release are based upon reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward looking statements. These forward looking statements are made as of the date of this release, and British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances except as may be required by applicable law.
 

NON-IFRS MEASURES

In addition to providing measures prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), we present certain financial measures that do not have any standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS and therefore are unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. These supplemental financial measures are provided to assist readers in determining our ability to generate cash from operations and improve the comparability of our results from one period to another. We believe these measures are useful in assessing operating performance of our ongoing business on an overall basis.
 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 2021

Significant events during or subsequent to the First Quarter of 2021 include the following:
 

COVID-19 Pandemic Response Update

  • The Coastal Ferry Services Contract (“CFSC”) was initially amended in April 2020 for a 60-day period, expiring in early June, to reflect temporary reduced service levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 2, 2020, the CFSC with the Province was amended to extend temporary service level adjustments through to September 7, 2020. The initial reductions meant that capacity across our network was reduced by approximately 24 per cent compared to the same quarter in fiscal 2020. The majority of the service reductions were on the Major Routes. The current service level plan gradually increases service levels across multiple routes to match ferry service to demand and meet the needs of customers and communities. As we increase service levels in accordance with the service level plan, our capacity is planned to exceed projected summer demand by an average of 20 per cent.
     
  • Our priorities are protecting passengers and employees aboard our ferries and in all workplaces, and adhering to provincial and federal guidelines during this gradual resumption of service. We are following the directives and guidance provided by the Province and Transport Canada. These government measures were put in place and include limiting passenger capacity to support physical distancing, screening customers on arrival at the terminal, allowing customers to remain in their vehicles on all decks during the sailing, and enhanced cleaning.
     
  • Effective June 15, 2020, in keeping with directives and guidance provided by Transport Canada, BC Ferries requires passengers travelling on the ferry to be in possession of a face covering that covers their mouth and nose, and we ask them to wear this covering in situations when a physical separation of two metres cannot be maintained. Beginning August 24, 2020, BC Ferries will require customers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings at terminals and while on board ferries.
     
  • Late in June 2020, we carefully introduced limited food services on select routes. Early July 2020, we announced the reopening of additional terminal and onboard amenities across the fleet.
     
  • We continue to review and amend both operating and capital plans to reduce costs and defer spending in order to preserve cash.
     
  • On August 11, 2020, the Province announced BC Ferries is one of the entities included in the Federal Government’s previously announced transit funding of $540 million in response to the impact of COVID-19. This transit funding is to be matched equally by the Province for a total funding envelope of $1.08 billion. Over the past few months, BC Ferries has been working closely with the Province, having formed a task force to collaboratively work together on strategic options to sustain the ferry system for the long term. The task force consists of representatives from the B.C. Ferry Authority Board, the BC Ferries Board, BC Ferries management, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Ministry of Finance.
     

Tariffs

  • On April 1, 2020, we delayed adjustments to fares for fiscal 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the date for applying fare adjustments to be determined. As of April 1, 2020, a fuel rebate of 1.5 per cent was implemented on all routes as a result of recent fuel prices.
 

Vessels

  • On June 10, 2020, the Island Discovery commenced service between Powell River and Texada Island and on June 18, 2020, the Island Aurora commenced service between Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula. These two new Island Class vessels, constructed by Damen Shipyard Group are hybrid-electric ships designed for future full electric operation. The addition of the Island Discovery and the Island Aurora allowed us to retire the 62-year old North Island Princess in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and the 54-year old Howe Sound Queen in fiscal 2020.
 

General

  • On May 1, 2020, S&P Global Ratings revised our credit rating trend from “AA-” with a stable outlook to “AA-” with a negative outlook, while at the same time, affirming the Company’s “AA-” long-term issuer credit and senior secured debt ratings, as a result of COVID-19 preventative measures and travel restrictions triggering an unprecedented decline in ridership.
     
  • On May 27, 2020, DBRS Morningstar (“DBRS”) changed the trend to negative from stable on the company’s “A (high)” rating and senior secured bonds rating, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on key financial metrics during fiscal 2021 and uncertainties on speed of recovery.
 
- 30 -
 
Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Communications
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

Customer Contact:
Victoria: (250) 386-3431
Toll-free: 1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our off-hours line at (250) 516-7211.

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Financial Position (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 
As at
June 30, 2020 March 31, 2020
Assets
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents 102,443 169,141
Restricted short-term investments 33,313 33,393
Other short-term investments 67,635 91,588
Trade and other receivables 17,395 19,488
Prepaid expenses 19,854 11,057
Inventories 33,914 31,897
Derivative assets 9 28
274,563 356,592
Non-current assets
Loan receivable 24,515 24,515
Property, plant and equipment 1,856,282 1,879,517
Intangible assets 100,827 99,893
1,981,624 2,003,925
Total assets 2,256,187 2,360,517

Liabilities
Current liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 100,787 132,296
Provisions 1,754 1,794
Interest payable on long-term debt 17,286 21,512
Contract liabilities 22,491 21,702
Current portion of long-term debt 19,786 21,644
Current portion of accrued employee future benefits 2,300 3,000
Current portion of lease liabilities 2,639 2,536
Derivative liabilities 12,842 15,507
179,885 219,991
Non-current liabilities
Accrued employee future benefits 18,835 20,151
Long-term debt 1,424,804 1,427,426
Lease liabilities 37,962 38,675
Other liabilities 10,685 10,962
Derivative liabilities 15,464 17,212
1,507,750 1,514,426
Total liabilities 1,687,635 1,734,417
Equity
Share capital 75,478 75,478
Contributed surplus 25,000 25,000
Retained earnings 485,709 547,745
Total equity before reserves 586,187 648,223
Reserves (17,635) (22,123)
Total equity including reserves 568,552 626,100
Total liabilities and equity 2,256,187 2,360,517
 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive (Loss)
Income (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 
Three months ended June 30
2020 2019
Revenue
Vehicle and passenger fares 78,781 162,476
Net retail 783 16,797
Fuel (rebates) surcharges (1,242) 839
Other income 1,044 3,037
Revenue from customers 79,366 183,149
Ferry service fees 50,029 55,409
Federal-Provincial Subsidy Agreement 8,007 7,835
Total revenue 137,402 246,393

Expenses
Operations 105,322 140,688
Maintenance 23,081 26,312
Administration 11,243 8,696
Depreciation and amortization 44,048 44,722
Total operating expenses 183,694 220,418
Operating (loss) profit (46,292) 25,975

Net finance and other expenses
Finance expenses 15,107 14,991
Finance income (1,222) (1,173)
Net finance expense 13,885 13,818
Loss (gain) on disposal and revaluation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets
1,859

(12)
Net finance and other expenses 15,744 13,806

NET (LOSS) EARNINGS

(62,036)

12,169

Other comprehensive (loss) income
Items that are or may be reclassified subsequently
to net (loss) earnings (397) (58)
Total other comprehensive (loss) income (397) (58)
Total comprehensive (loss) income (62,433) 12,111
 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 
Three months ended June 30
2020 2019
Operating activities
Net (loss) earnings (62,036) 12,169
Items not affecting cash:
Net finance expense 13,885 13,818
Depreciation and amortization 44,048 44,722
Loss (gain) on disposal and revaluation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets
1,859

(12)
Other non-cash changes to property, plant and equipment (173) (34)
Changes in:
Accrued employee future benefits (2,016) (206)
Derivative assets and liabilities recognized in net loss 32 7
Provisions (40) 36
Accrued financing costs 246 635
Total non-cash items 57,841 58,966

Movements in operating working capital:
Trade and other receivables 2,093 (9,569)
Prepaid expenses (8,797) (11,996)
Inventories (2,017) 265
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities (31,509) (22,746)
Contract liabilities 789 3,656
Change in non-cash working capital (39,441) (40,390)
Change in non-cash working capital attributable
to investing activities 22,789 26,940
Change in non-cash operating working capital (16,652) (13,450)

Cash (used in) generated from operating activities

(20,847)

57,685
Interest received 991 700
Interest paid (21,481) (18,582)

Cash (used in) generated from operating activities

(41,337)

39,803
 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 
Three months ended June 30
2020 2019
Financing activities
Repayment of long-term debt

(4,696)

(6,571)
Repayment of lease liabilities (610) (552)
Cash used in financing activities (5,306) (7,123)

Investing activities
Proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment


53


95
Purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets (44,141) (48,925)
Changes in restricted short-term investments 80 120
Net proceeds from other short-term investments 23,953 16,475
Cash used in investing activities (20,055) (32,235)
Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents (66,698) 445
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 169,141 59,888
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period 102,443 60,333
 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Changes in Equity (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 

Share capital

Contributed
surplus

Retained earnings
Total equity
before reserves


Reserves
Total equity
before reserves
Balance as at April 1, 2019 75,478 25,000 525,006 625,484 12,834 638,318
Net earnings - - 12,169 12,169 - 12,169
Other comprehensive loss -                 -                 -                 - (58) (58)
Realized hedge gains recognized in
fuel swaps -                 -                 -                 - (2,957) (2,957)
Hedge losses on interest rate
forward contract reclassified to net earnings
-

-

-

-

61

61
Balance as at June 30, 2019 75,478 25,000 537,175 637,653 9,880 647,533

Balance as at April 1, 2020

75,478

25,000

547,745

648,223

(22,123)

626,100
Net loss - - (62,036) (62,036) - (62,036)
Other comprehensive loss -                 -                 -                 - (397) (397)
Realized hedge losses recognized in fuel swaps
-                 -                 -                 -

4,823

4,823
Hedge losses on interest rate
forward contract reclassified to
net earnings - - - - 62 62
Balance as at June 30, 2020 75,478 25,000 485,709 586,187 (17,635) 568,552