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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read