Amending Coastal Ferry Act would end lavish pay increases and perks for ferry executives

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VICTORIA – B.C. New Democrats are proposing changes to the Coastal Ferry Act that would end lavish pay increases for ferry executives, and are urging the B.C. Liberals to announce their support for these amendments ahead of the B.C. Ferry Authority’s annual general meeting this Friday.

“A simple change to the Coastal Ferry Act would stop these unacceptable annual compensation increases for top ferry executives that have become a tradition in B.C., even as ferry passengers are hit with rising fares and service cuts,” explained New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

Dix said Section 21.4 of the Coastal Ferry Act, brought in through an amendment in 2010, directs the B.C. Ferry Authority to take crown corporation pay scales into account when setting new executive salaries, but the Liberals failed to require the authority to adhere to public sector wage freezes or the elimination of bonuses.

“Every year in the wake of public frustration, Liberal cabinet ministers feign disappointment over rising executive compensation despite their own lack of action to end the practice,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River -Sunshine Coast.

“This year is no exception, with the transportation minister saying he wants the ferry authority and corporation to respect the spirit of the executive compensation freeze announced for Crown corporations last July, but refusing to act. The minister could make the necessary changes so that the B.C. Ferry Authority must honour the wage freeze and end performance bonuses, but he won’t.”

Dix said it was a major failure of the Liberals when they excluded B.C. Ferries from new restraints placed on public sector compensation in July 2012 that froze salaries and began phasing out bonus programs.

“The government is the ferry corporation’s primary shareholder, but has failed to act in the public interest time and again,” said Dix. “It is time for the transportation minister to stop running from the problem and take action to fix it.”