From visiting friends and family, to getting goods to market, Canadians in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec, and businesses rely on safe and efficient ferry services to keep communities connected and build an economy that works for everyone.

Minister of Transport announces Advance Contract Award Notice to acquire an interim replacement for the MV Holiday Island ferry

Last summer, the MV Holiday Island, one of two ferries that ensured service between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, was removed from service. Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, joined by the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Sean Fraser, and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, announced the Government of Canada’s intention to purchase the MV Fanafjord to replace the MV Holiday Island in the short-term until its successor is built and ready to enter service.

Longer-term, the Government of Canada will build two new ferries, including the permanent replacement of the MV Holiday Island, at Chantier Davie Canada Inc. Design work for the new vessel is already underway, with delivery expected as early as 2028.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), on behalf of Transport Canada, has published an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) to signal the government’s intention to purchase the MV Fanafjord. The ACAN allows other interested suppliers that meet the minimum operational requirements of Transport Canada 15 calendar days to submit a statement of capabilities before a contract is awarded. If no other supplier submits a statement of capabilities that meets the requirements highlighted in the ACAN, PSPC may proceed with awarding a contract to the owner of the MV Fanafjord, which would be expected to enter service in early May 2024. The MV Fanafjord would serve as an interim replacement solution to maintain two vessel ferry service on this route for the communities until the new ferry by Chantier Davie is completed.

Reliable two-way ferry service is critical for Canadians in this region that depend on this mode of transportation in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec, as well as for the local economy. This short-term replacement of the MV Holiday Island is a crucial step the Government of Canada is taking to help ensure continued ferry services for the communities and for local businesses.

News release

August 23, 2023                Charlottetown                       Transport Canada


“We understand how essential reliable ferry services are to the local communities and businesses that depend on the Wood Islands – Caribou route. Today’s announcement of our Government’s intention to purchase the MV Fanafjord is great news for Canadians in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec as an interim solution, and will help give those that rely on this service a sense of ease until we build a permanent replacement for this route. This is another step our Government is taking to ensure we are there for the communities.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

“The Wood Islands-Caribou ferry service connects two provinces, connects families, connects tourists, connects workers, and connects businesses. Reliable, upgraded ferry service is a crucial lifeline, and this new vessel, the MV Fanafjord, will help Northumberland Ferries continue to safely, and efficiently, serve the economies and communities here on the East Coast.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

“Today’s announcement is great news for communities on both sides of the Wood Islands—Caribou route, and I want to thank the many Islanders and Nova Scotians who advocated for making it happen. Our Government believes in the people and businesses of Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec, and we will continue to do everything we can to deliver for them.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“Atlantic communities deserve safe, efficient ferry services that meet their needs while supporting the local economy and tourism. Today’s announcement means people in the region will have an interim solution until Chantier Davie completes construction of the permanent replacement ferry.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“As I’ve always said, a reliable and predictable two-vessel ferry service is vital for the Wood Islands-Caribou route, and to the many families, businesses, communities, and tourism operators who rely on it. After two unfortunate seasons where we lost the MV Holiday Island and experienced the significant impacts of mechanical issues with the MV Confederation, I’m so pleased that the Government of Canada has announced its intention to purchase the MV Fanafjord and ensure a safe and reliable two-vessel service until the new ferry is completed at Chantier Davie in the coming years.”

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The ferry service between Caribou and Wood Islands is essential for our regional economy, tourism and our local communities relying on ferry traffic. Ensuring there is adequate transportation service between our provinces is essential to maintaining the vibrancy and sustainability of our region.”

The Honourable Sean Fraser
Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • The MV Holiday Island was one of two vessels used to provide service on the Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia route. The second ferry is the MV Confederation.
  • Service on the Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia ferry route begins on May 1, and ends around December 20.
  • The Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia ferry route is considered an essential transportation link that supports the regional economy and provides good, middle-class jobs, employing approximately 200 people and contributing roughly $39M to the regional economy on an annual basis.
  •  In November 2019, on behalf of Transport Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada awarded a $1 million contract to Chantier Davie Canada Inc. for project and design work leading up to the construction of two ferries to replace the MV Holiday Island and the MV Madeleine.
  • These long-term replacement ferries will be built in Canada, supporting skilled jobs in the Canadian shipbuilding industry and related sectors.

Associated links


Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Olivier Pilon
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada