Ferry regulator looks to encourage outsourcing

The province's ferry regulator is taking another look at how British Columbia Ferry Services Inc.'s routes can be outsourced. By the law, the ferry service has been required to seek so-called "alternative service providers" for those routes since 2003. But that legal requirement hasn't achieved the desired result.

In October 2009, the province's comptroller general suggested the government might be able to remedy that problem by no longer requiring alternative service providers to operate at a lower cost than the ferry service.

That hasn't happened so far. But now the British Columbia Ferry Commission has decided to investigate what "legislative or other barriers" might be getting in the way of prospective providers.

The investigation is being conducted as part of the commission's review into the legislation governing his office.

The consultant hired to assist in that review will also advise on "what changes should be considered to encourage this form of service delivery," as well whether the commissioner should have the power to approve the ferry service's capital expenditures.

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