Hahn announces exit from BC Ferries

BC Ferries CEO David Hahn is leaving his post at the end of the year, part of a cost-cutting move that freezes salaries and reduces other executive salaries as the province's ferry service endures a slowdown in traffic.

BC Ferries CEO David Hahn

VICTORIA – BC Ferries CEO David Hahn is leaving his post at the end of the year, part of a cost-cutting plan that freezes wages and reduces other executive salaries as the province’s ferry service endures a slowdown in traffic.

Hahn’s million-dollar salary makes him the highest-paid provincial employee, and the BC Ferries board’s decision to increase his pension added to a storm of controversy that overshadowed the performance of the ferry service.

BC Ferries board chairman Donald Hayes confirmed that quitting with a year left on his contract means he will be paid no severance. Hahn said he made the decision to go early, and he also forgoes salary as well as taking a reduced pension.

Hahn has argued that a drop of three to four per cent in this year’s BC Ferries traffic is not a response to high fares, but fuel costs, the U.S. slump and a high Canadian dollar that have also reduced traffic at B.C.’s free inland ferries and airports.

The B.C. Ferries Commissioner is reviewing the government’s user-pay mandate for ferries, which has been in place for nine years and led to steeper increases on the minor routes. Until that review is complete and fares are set, Hahn said the company will cut costs by $11 million to offset an anticipated loss of $20 million this year.

Cost-cutting moves include a two-year wage and salary freeze, hiring freeze on non-essential positions, “select early retirements,” reduced use of contractors, elimination of charity and community donations and the cancellation of arena advertising for Vancouver Canucks games, BC Ferries said in a statement.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom intervened in May to cap ferry rate increases at 4.15 per cent for all routes next year. A preliminary ruling by the commissioner had indicated rates for smaller and northern routes would go up eight per cent.

The Coastal Ferry Act currently requires BC Ferries to reduce the subsidy paid to keep smaller ferry routes running, and prevents BC Ferries from using revenue from its large, busy routes to support service to smaller islands and communities.

Lekstrom said the ferry rate review will focus on affordability for ferry users and the impact of rates on tourism and other business in ferry-dependent communities.

Long-time civil servant Gord Macatee took over as B.C. Ferry Commissioner this year, and his review is to make recommendations in early 2012 about changes to the legislation.

Largely in response to public anger over Hahn’s salary, in 2010 the B.C. government passed amendments linking BC Ferries executive salaries to those of other public sector executives.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Maple Ridge city staff in Great B.C. Shake Out

City staff took cover under desks during province-wide drill

Vehicle of missing Maple Ridge man is found in Abbotsford

Barrie Holt, 63, is also known to frequent Chilliwack area

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read