• News
  • March 19, 2018

New Wolfe Island and Amherst Island Ferries Will Be Fully Electric

Province Helps Fight Climate Change with Green Technology On New Ferries


March 16, 2018

In its ongoing effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment, Ontario is building the first fully electric non-cable vessels in Canada as it moves forward with plans to build two new ferries to connect the mainland with Amherst Island and Wolfe Island. Compared to conventional diesel ferries, the new fully electric ferries are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 7.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, the same as taking 1,357 cars off the road.

The new ferries are jointly funded by the Government of Canada, through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects (PTIC-NRP) of the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF), and the Province of Ontario. They are expected to be operational in early 2020 for Amherst Island and early 2021 at Wolfe Island. The Wolfe Islander III will remain in service together with the new electric Wolfe Island vessel, allowing for two vessels to run during peak periods to help speed up the movement of people and goods. Details of the service to Wolfe Island are being developed with input from the ferry users.

In November 2017, the province awarded the design-build contract for new, larger ferries that will support more people, vehicles and goods in travelling to and from the Islands. As part of that contract, the successful bidder, Damen Shipyards Group, was required to identify future innovations and green technologies for sustainable power sources. After further exploration of the technology, the province has accepted Damen’s proposal for full electrification of the ferries.

Investing in green technology to help fight climate change is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.


“This is great news for residents and commuters in this region, knowing they will soon be able to ride a ferry that is completely powered by electricity. Investing in innovative green technology is helping Ontario become a leader in North America for sustainable transportation and our government is committed to improving service, while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint.”

— Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Transportation

“Changing the way we travel is a crucial part of our fight against climate change and our transition to a low-carbon economy. The electrification of the Amherst and Wolfe Island Ferry is a great example of how Ontario’s carbon market proceeds are being used to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and other air contaminates from transportation, a sector that contributes more than one third of the province’s emissions.”

— Chris Ballard, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Government of Canada is proud to invest in green infrastructure projects like the new Wolfe Island and Amherst Island Ferries, which will shorten commute times, decrease air pollution, and allow passengers to spend more time with their family rather than waiting in lines.  This project is an example of Canada’s commitment to a clean, sustainable growth economy that will benefit Canadians for generations to come.”

— Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“The electrification of the new ferries for Wolfe Island and Amherst Island is a crucial step towards creating a truly sustainable transportation network. It is a great source of pride that Ontario – and Wolfe and Amherst Island in particular – have been chosen as the first site for these fully electric, non-cable vessels in Canada. We are building tomorrow’s critical infrastructure today.”

— Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands


  • The Government of Canada is contributing up to a maximum of $31.3 million towards building the new ferries through the NBCF-PTIC-NRP.
  • The new Wolfe Island ferry will be able to carry a maximum of 399 passengers and 75 vehicles, while the new Amherst Island ferry will carry up to 300 passengers and 40 vehicles. Both new vessels will feature loading areas to separate pedestrians and cyclists from vehicles as well as improved safety, accessibility and sustainability features.
  • Ferries transport approximately 900,000 passengers and 400,000 vehicles between Wolfe Island and Kingston each year, and approximately 300,000 passengers and 145,000 vehicles to and from Amherst Island annually.
  • Over the 60 year lifespan of the ferries, Ontario will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 446 million kilograms of carbon dioxide.
  • The Amherst Island Ferry is owned by the Ministry of Transportation and operated by Loyalist Township. It makes 20 trips per day between Millhaven on the mainland and Stella on the island.
  • The Wolfe Islander III is owned and operated by the Ministry of Transportation. It makes 19 trips per day between the mainland in downtown Kingston and Wolfe Island. 


Information about Wolfe Island Ferry Service

Information about Amherst Island Ferry Service

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