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Business and Economy

Bay Ferries' Canadian Government Support Must Be Revealed, Court Rules

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
The Cat ferry arrives in Portland Harbor, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ordered the provincial government to reveal how much it’s paying in management fees to run a ferry to Bar Harbor. Bay Ferries Limited, which operates the ferry service, is facing its third straight year with no sailings.

The public information suit was brought two years ago by the Progressive Conservative Party, which argued that all fees paid by the province should be made public. The company and province countered that the information was commercially sensitive, and its disclosure could have a chilling effect on public-private investment.

Justice Richard Coughlan wrote in his 23-page opinion Tuesday that he found no reason to believe that Bay Ferries would be harmed by disclosure of the fees.

The province was criticized in 2019 when, in addition to millions in ferry subsidies, it spent more than $6 million U.S. to fund construction of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility on the Bar Harbor side, which delayed the start of the service.

The sailing season was canceled again in 2020 due to the pandemic, and canceled again for 2021.

The province and Bay Ferries have 30 days to appeal the court decision.