Travel Advisory: COVID-19 Update - Important information - Last updated February 5, 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 February 5, 2021 Dr. Bonnie Henry announced an update to the COVID-19 restrictions (in effect November 7 until further notice), 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 until further notice) 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
21-005
February 22, 2021

Safe restart funding helps BC Ferries address COVID-19 impacts

VICTORIA – BC Ferries released its third quarter results today for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the company’s operations and financial results. During the quarter, BC Ferries carried 2.9 million passengers and 1.6 million vehicles, a decrease of 39.6 per cent and 22.3 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year. Year-to-date, the company carried 10.6 million passengers and 5.3 million vehicles, a decrease of 42.1 per cent and 26.9 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year.

As a regulated company, BC Ferries’ allowable average annual fare increases and corresponding earning targets are set by the BC Ferries Commissioner to cover the cost of ferry service, along with required maintenance and vessel, terminal and IT upgrades and replacements, as well as debt servicing.

The effects of COVID-19 have negatively impacted BC Ferries’ traffic and revenues over the current year. This trend is expected to continue in the near term as the province recovers from the effects of the pandemic.

In December 2020, BC Ferries received $308 million from the Safe Restart Program, a federal-provincial initiative intended to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies. Assistance to the public transportation sector, including BC Ferries, is a critical part of the BC Safe Restart Plan.

The goals of the federal-provincial Safe Restart funding are to mitigate BC Ferries’ revenue losses and additional COVID-19-related spending, help restore the level of annual earnings required to maintain service levels, and to keep fare increases to affordable levels through this performance term which ends March 31, 2024. Maintaining this level of earnings also supports the long-term sustainability, reliability and affordability of the ferry system and protects $380 million in essential vessel, terminal and IT investments over this year and next.
 
  • BC Ferries applied nine months’ worth of Safe Restart funding, or $154.8 million, to third quarter revenues. Without this relief, the net loss for the three months ended December 31, 2020 would have been $56.4 million.
     
  • As a result of the funding, BC Ferries recorded net earnings of $98.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020, compared to a net loss of $8.3 million in the same quarter in the prior year.
     
  • On a year-to-date basis, BC Ferries’ net earnings were $74.3 million to December 31, 2020. Without federal-provincial Safe Restart funding, the company would have had a net loss of $80.5 million, compared to net earnings of $98.9 million in the same period in the prior year.

The positive net earnings in the quarter and year-to-date reflect nine months of Safe Restart funding as well as the seasonal nature of the business whereby traffic in the busy spring and summer months provide earnings that are typically offset by losses in the slower fall and winter months.

“We would again like to acknowledge the important contribution from the federal and provincial governments to address the profound impact COVID-19 has had on transportation and on the ferry system,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “The Safe Restart funding will protect the long term sustainability of the ferry system to recover our losses and maintain service and future investments in ferry dependent communities.”

“Our valued employees continue to focus on our core business of delivering efficient service while protecting passengers who rely on us for essential travel,” said Collins. “I can’t thank our staff enough for their dedication and their work to keep our ships and terminals safe, while keeping communities connected during this difficult time.”

In the three months ended December 31, 2020, operating expenses decreased by $6.7 million or 3.3 per cent ($68.8 million or 10.6 per cent year-to-date) compared to the same period in the prior year, mainly due to reduced round trips on the major routes and the deferral of certain discretionary costs as a result of COVID-19. The expense reduction includes reduced labour costs, fuel consumption, contracted services, depreciation expense and other miscellaneous costs.

Capital expenditures in the three and nine-months ended December 31, 2020 totalled $41.5 million and $90.8 million, respectively, and were financed in part through net earnings during the nine months. Significant investments included the four Island Class vessels and one Salish Class vessel that were already under construction prior to the pandemic. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the company’s financial position, all capital plans are being reviewed to identify opportunities to defer any expenditures that are not regulatory, security or safety related, or operationally necessary.

BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at www.sedar.com.
 
– 30 –
 
Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Media Relations
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

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

Note to newsrooms: For urgent media inquiries off-hours, call our emergency 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 35 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, capital investments, and the anticipated application of funding received under the Safe Restart Funding Program. 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 THIRD QUARTER FISCAL 2021

Significant events during or subsequent to the Third Quarter of 2021 include the following:
  • In December 2020, BC Ferries received $308 million pursuant to an agreement with the Province under the Safe Restart Funding Program, a federal-provincial initiative intended to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and deal with the impacts of COVID-19. The Safe Restart Funding agreement for $308 million consists of three components. The first component is for base operating relief towards the estimated operational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic of $280 million. The second component of $24 million is to limit fare increases to an average of 2.3 per cent in fiscal 2022, fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2024. The third component of $4 million is to cover the estimated costs of discretionary sailings for fiscal 2022 through fiscal 2024. In the three months ended December 31, 2020, Safe Restart Funding of $154.8 million was recognized in revenue.
     
  • On December 16, 2020, BC Ferries and the BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union announced the ratification of a Memorandum of Agreement that was reached on October 22, 2020. This agreement provides certainty for employees, helps ensure uninterrupted ferry service for customers and will mark 22 years of labour stability. The term of the new Collective Agreement is from October 31, 2020 through October 31, 2025 and provides for wage increases of 0 per cent, 2 per cent and 2 per cent over the first three years of the agreement, with year four and five having wage re-openers.
     
  • On October 28 and December 17, 2020, respectively, BC Ferries’ third and fourth Island Class vessels were launched at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania. These ships will enter service on the Campbell River – Quadra Island route in 2022. The Island Class vessels are outfitted with hybrid-diesel electric propulsion and will operate as fully electric ships in the future when shore-side infrastructure is available.
     
  • On December 19, 2020, BC Ferries’ fourth Salish Class vessel was launched at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. This vessel will enter service in the Southern Gulf Islands in 2022 and will be identical to the three existing Salish Class vessels, which are dual-duel capable, designed to run primarily on liquefied natural gas.
 
- 30 -
 
Media Contact:
BC Ferries, Communications
Victoria: (250) 978-1267

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

 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Financial Position (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
As at
December 31, 2020 March 31, 2020
Assets
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents 323,329 169,141
Restricted short-term investments 33,198 33,393
Other short-term investments 144,529 91,588
Trade and other receivables 23,176 19,488
Prepaid expenses 10,615 11,057
Inventories 38,806 31,897
Derivative assets - 28
571,653 356,592
Non-current assets
Loan receivable 24,515 24,515
Property, plant and equipment 1,837,311 1,879,517
Intangible assets 96,692 99,893
1,958,518 2,003,925
Total assets 2,530,171 2,360,517

Liabilities
Current liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 98,637 132,296
Provisions 2,297 1,794
Current portion of lease liabilities 2,772 2,536
Contract liabilities 136,088 21,702
Current portion of long-term debt 15,317 21,644
Current portion of accrued employee future benefits 2,500 3,000
Derivative liabilities 8,539 15,507
283,640 219,991
Non-current liabilities
Lease liabilities 36,557 38,675
Contract liabilities 36,941 -
Long-term debt 1,419,558 1,427,426
Accrued employee future benefits 20,608 20,151
Other liabilities 10,039 10,962
Derivative liabilities 9,707 17,212
1,533,410 1,514,426
Total liabilities 1,817,050 1,734,417
Equity
Share capital 75,478 75,478
Contributed surplus 25,000 25,000
Retained earnings 622,012 547,745
Total equity before reserves 722,490 648,223
Reserves (9,369) (22,123)
Total equity including reserves 713,121 626,100
Total liabilities and equity 2,530,171 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
December 31
Nine months ended
December 31
2020 2019 2020 2019
Revenue
Vehicle and passenger fares 94,691 134,699 343,441 513,691
Net retail 4,811 14,583 13,975 55,249
Fuel (rebates) surcharges (1,525) 1,620 (5,432) 5,440
Other income 1,937 2,754 5,546 9,323
Revenue from customers 99,914 153,656 357,530 583,703
Safe restart funding 154,802 - 154,802 -
Ferry service fees 49,118 49,457 160,535 179,445
Federal-Provincial Subsidy Agreement 8,007 7,835 24,021 23,505
Total revenue 311,841 210,948 696,888 786,653

Expenses
Operations 120,616 128,339 352,740 421,258
Maintenance 24,290 22,166 62,533 61,918
Administration 8,514 9,312 28,594 27,279
Depreciation and amortization 45,613 45,913 134.159 136,375
Total operating expenses 199,033 205,730 578,026 646,830
Operating profit 112,808 5,218 118,892 139,823
Net finance and other expenses
Finance expenses 15,445 16,056 45,988 46,377
Finance income (1,077) (2,520) (3,361) (5,201)
Net finance expense 14,368 13,536 42,627 41,176
Loss (gain) on disposal and revaluation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets
4

(8)

1,968

(214)
Net finance and other expenses 14,372 13,528 44,595 40,962

NET EARNINGS (LOSS)

98,436

(8,310)

74,267

98,861
 
Other comprehensive income (loss)
Items that are or may be reclassified subsequently
to net earnings (loss)
7,585 4,645 2,042 755
Items not to be reclassified to net earnings (loss) - - (1,933) (126)
Total other comprehensive loss 7,585 4,645 109 629
Total comprehensive income (loss) 106,021 (3,665) (74,376) 99,490


 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 
Nine months ended December 31
2020 2019
Operating activities
Net earnings 74,267 98,861
Items not affecting cash:
Net finance expense 42,627 41,176
Depreciation and amortization 134,159 136,375
Loss (gain) on disposal and revaluation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets
1,968

(214)
Other non-cash changes to property, plant and equipment (294) (686)
Changes in:
Accrued employee future benefits (1,976) 204
Derivative assets and liabilities recognized in net loss 55 2
Provisions 503 4,859
Accrued financing costs (270) 89
Total non-cash items 176,772 181,805
Movements in operating working capital:
Trade and other receivables (3,688) (2,497)
Prepaid expenses 442 (4,381)
Inventories (4,909) (896)
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities (33,659) (42,768)
Contract liabilities 151,327 (7,348)
Change in non-cash working capital 109,513 (57,890)
Change in non-cash working capital attributable to investing activities 25,673 32,324
Change in non-cash operating working capital 135,186 (25,566)

Cash generated from operating activities before interest

386,225

255,100
Interest received 3,628 5,272
Interest paid (55,769) (50,468)

Cash generated from operating activities

334,084

209,904


 

BRITISH COLUMBIA FERRY SERVICES INC.

Condensed Interim Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)
(Expressed in thousands of Canadian dollars)
 
Nine months ended December 31
2020 2019

Financing activities
Repayment of long-term debt


(14,837)


(69,212)
Repayment of lease liabilities (1,886) (1,650)
Proceeds from the issue of bonds - 250,000
Transaction costs related to bonds - (1,587)
Cash (used in) from financing activities (16,723 177,551

Investing activities
Proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment


93


309
Purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets (110,520) (172,322)
Changes in restricted short-term investments 195 (1,937)
Net purchase of other short-term investments (52,941) (45,984)
Cash used in investing activities (163,173) (219,934)
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents 154,188 167,521
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 169,141 59,888
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period 323,329 227,409


 

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 including
reserves

Balance as at April 1, 2019

75,478

25,000

525,006

625,484

12,834

638,318
Net earnings - - 98,861 98,861 - 98,861
Other comprehensive loss - - - - 629 629
Realized hedge gains recognized in
fuel swaps
- - - - (5,575) (5,575)
Hedge losses on interest rate forward
contract reclassified to net earnings     
- - - - 186 186
Balance as at September 30, 2019 75,478 25,000 623,867 724,345 8,074 732,419

Balance as at April 1, 2020

75,478

25,000

547,745

648,223

(22,123)

626,100
Net loss - - 74,267 74,267 - 74,267
Other comprehensive loss - - - - 109 109
Realized hedge losses recognized in fuel swaps - - - - 12,459 12,459
Hedge losses on interest rate forward contract reclassified to net earnings - - - - 186 186
Balance as at September 30, 2020 75,478 25,000 622,012 722,490 (9,369) 713,121