The federal government is spending $58 million over two years to support interprovincial ferry services in Eastern Canada, including two on Prince Edward Island.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a release issued Wednesday, that the investment will allow for continued ferry services between between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, N.S.; and between Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Que. and Souris, P.E.I.; and between Saint John, N.B., and Digby, N.S. until March 31, 2016.
The funding will be used to support operations and to maintain and repair ferry assets.
The government said it has invested about $246 million in support of the three ferry services since 2006.
Transport Canada owns four vessels and six ferry facilities that are leased to private operators for a nominal amount.
"Our government understands the importance of these ferry services to the economic sustainability of Eastern Canada,” said Raitt. “This investment will enhance the safety and efficiency of the services while greatly benefitting the transport, trade and tourism industries in the region."
The Wood Islands/Caribou ferry service is operated by Northumberland Ferries Ltd. (NFL), for eight months of the year (May to December) and uses two of Transport Canada's vessels — the MV Holiday Island and the MV Confederation.
Since 2006, the federal government has provided $97 million to support the service.
The Îles-de-la-Madeleine/Souris ferry service is operated by C.T.M.A. Traversier Ltée. (CTMA) using the Transport Canada-owned MV Madeleine. Ottawa has provided $111 million to support this service since 2006. This amount includes $14.6 million contributed since 2008, to extend the service to the winter months, thus providing year-round service.