No Island representation on Chi-Cheemaun ferry parent board

Chi-Cheemaun Ferry

OWEN SOUND—There are currently two vacancies on the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) board and none of the current members is from Manitoulin. The six-member board is missing its part-time vice-chair and one other part-time member. All of the current members were appointed to their current terms in 2020 or 2021.

According to the Ontario Appointments Secretariate, OSTC oversees marine transportation on Georgian Bay. It operates a seasonal vehicle and passenger ferry, the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun, between Tobermory and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island, as well as the Pelee Island ferry service under contract to the Ministry of Transportation.

Although still listed as the CEO of OSTC on the Crown corporation’s website, long-time incumbent Susan Schrempf retired from her position a few months ago. An interim CEO, David Baxter, was appointed from outside the corporation through direction from the board.

The board chair is currently listed as Marta Leardi-Anderson of Amherstburg, whose appointment runs to October 1, 2023. Joining her at the board table are Bradley Fletcher of Annan (to June 2023), Benson Lau of Toronto (to March 2024) and James Hepple of Meaford (to April 2024).

OSTC communications director Kaleen Sanford noted that nothing has been formalized as to the permanent CEO.

Ms. Sanford said that everything is running pretty much on schedule for the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry and although this year’s schedule has not yet been released, it is anticipated that this will happen soon and reservations will open for the season’s sailings.

The pandemic has complicated matters somewhat, as could be expected, but OSTC also needs to coordinate with two public health agencies, the province and Transport Canada as well.

“It is also important that we ensure that everything moves smoothly for our customers,” said Ms. Sanford. “We are working with a very fluid landscape, and as it is winter we are working with a skeleton crew here right now, but for all of that, things are basically business as usual.”

The MS Chi-Cheemaun is currently sitting in drydock undergoing its yearly maintenance.

The articles of corporation for OSTC require a minimum of one to a maximum of 12 directors. Directors are elected by the minister of transportation as the sole shareholder of the corporation. The number of directors is currently set at five and those directors are appointed for a term of up to three years and are eligible for reappointment. There are no fixed number of meetings as the board meets as required for business. Appointees are volunteers and are eligible for expenses.

Those interested in applying for the vacant positions on the OSTC board should go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0aXISTGqzk to learn how to apply for a public appointment.