Government of Canada acquires an interim replacement for MV Holiday Island ferry

News release

November 16, 2023 - Gatineau, Quebec - Public Services and Procurement Canada

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.

Last summer, the MV Holiday Island, one of two ferries providing service between Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Nova Scotia, was removed from service due to an onboard fire that resulted in catastrophic damage to the vessel.  

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that the Government of Canada awarded a $38.56 million contract to Nye Fanafjord AS to purchase the motor vessel (MV) Fanafjord to replace the MV Holiday Island until its successor is built and ready to enter into service. The MV Fanafjord, which is expected to enter into service during the 2024 operating season , will serve as an interim replacement solution to ensure a reliable, predictable and safe two-vessel ferry service between Wood Islands and Caribou that meets the needs of the communities.

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.

This announcement follows an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) published on August 23, 2023. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that all federal contracts are awarded through a fair, open and transparent competitive procurement process. The ACAN allowed other interested suppliers 15 days to submit a statement of capabilities demonstrating they met Transport Canada’s minimum operational requirements. No other suppliers were able to demonstrate that they meet these requirements.

Reliable ferry service is critical for Canadians in this region. This short-term replacement of the MV Holiday Island is a crucial step the Government of Canada is taking to help ensure continued two-vessel ferry services for the communities and for local businesses.

Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Government of Canada is revitalizing the shipbuilding industry, creating good skilled jobs, and building whole new classes of ships to ensure Canada’s marine services have safe, reliable and modern equipment to fulfill their missions.


“Atlantic communities deserve safe, efficient ferry services that meet their needs while supporting the local economy and tourism. The purchase of the MV Fanafjord will allow travellers and businesses on both sides of the Wood Islands—Caribou route to enjoy uninterrupted ferry service in this region, while the permanent replacement ferries are being built by Chantier Davie Canada Inc.”  

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

“Reliable ferry services are essential to the local communities, businesses, and tourism in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec. Today’s announcement means that Canadians will continue to have consistent service between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. We’re dedicated to ensuring there’s safe and reliable maritime travel for all Canadians, and visitors to our country.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

“Islanders know the importance of having a safe and reliable two-vessel ferry service and the stability that it will bring for so many families, businesses, communities, and tourism operators in Eastern PEI. I’m so pleased to see this process progressing so that we ensure improved stability and reliability after two disappointing seasons, until the new vessel is in the water in 2028.”

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

"Two-way ferry service for communities in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. are vital for local communities and tourism growth, this is why we expedited the process to quickly procure the MV Fanafjord. Nova Scotians and Islanders count on us to provide critical infrastructure in a timely fashion, and I’m pleased to confirm the new ferry will be online for the summer season."  

The Honourable Sean Fraser
Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • The PEI and Nova Scotia route is an essential service for the community. The ferry is a key transportation link for people and goods between the islands, while supporting the regional economy and providing good, middle-class jobs, employing approximately 200 people and contributing roughly $39 million to the regional economy on an annual basis. 

  • The MV Holiday Island was 1 of 2 vessels used to provide service between Wood Islands, PEI, and Caribou, Nova Scotia. The second ferry, which is in service, is the MV Confederation.

  • The service on the PEI and Nova Scotia ferry route, requiring 2 ferries, begins on May 1, and ends around December 20.

  • In November 2019, the Government of Canada awarded a $1-million contract to Chantier Davie Canada Inc. for project and design work leading up to the construction of 2 ferries to replace the MV Holiday Island and the MV Madeleine.

  • The MV Madeleine provided service between the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, and Souris, PEI, until an interim vessel replaced it in 2021.

  • Through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, these long-term replacement ferries will be built in Canada, supporting skilled jobs in the Canadian shipbuilding industry and related sectors.

  • Following industry analysis, the Government of Canada determined that the purchase of the MV Fanafjord is the only solution that meets operational requirements and assures service continuity as an interim measure while 2 new ferries are being built.

Associated links


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

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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