Earlier this week, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney delivered a letter to federal minister of transport Marc Garneau asking that he review the ministry’s minimum safe manning (MSM) ruling for the new Island Aurora and Island Discovery ferries, which began service in June on routes between Texada Island and Powell River, and Port McNeill, Sointula and Alert Bay.
The minimum safe manning standards approved by the ministry in May allowed BC Ferries to reduce the crew size on these routes from six or seven members down to five, according to Blaney. Community members raised concerns about routine safety, the ability to respond to emergencies, and additional health and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.
“These communities depend on this service to not only provide essential travel and supplies, but also as a source of employment,” Blaney stated in her letter to the minister.
She urged Garneau to listen to concerns of those on the front line.
“The workers are the experts,” stated Blaney, “and I support them fully.”