BC Ferries should be made more accountable to the provincial government, says a new report bythe deputy auditor general released on Thursday.

The report by Errol Priceassesses the impact of the government decision in 2003 to end the Crown corporation status of BC Ferries.

The change has largely been a success, as the company can now make important business decisions, such as replacing vessels, without waiting for legislative approval, Price says.

But he notes that a regular corporation has to answer to its shareholders, andsays BC Ferries is not accountable enough to its only shareholder—the provincial government.

Price recommends new performance measures for BC Ferries.

He also wants to see periodic evaluations and reports by the provinceon whether the corporation is living up to its contract, under the Coastal Ferries Act.

The Ministry of Transportation has responded, saying it will look for a cost-effective way to do those evaluations.

Price says the first real test of the new, independent BC Ferries will come in 2008, when it has the chance to renegotiate its fares and service levels.