Ontario One Call readies for better locate performance as Administrative Penalty regulation comes into force April 1, 2023
April 3, 2023
Guelph – Public safety regulator, Ontario One Call, is preparing to work closely with underground infrastructure owners/operators and excavators to usher in a new era of improved locate performance in the province of Ontario.
For many years, performance of locates by underground infrastructure owners/operators has declined, causing excavation project delays and slowing the pace of important construction activities, including new housing, transit and broadband projects.
Ontario One Call is an administrative authority that promotes safe excavation in Ontario (Click Before You Dig) and facilitates locate requests by excavators. The organization operates a web platform and contact centre that relays locate requests from excavators to underground infrastructure owners across the province. Last year, it processed over one million locate requests and sent over seven million notifications to municipalities, telecommunications, gas and utility companies to provide locates for the infrastructure they own or operate.
A new regulation, effective April 1, 2023, will provide Ontario One Call with the regulatory capability to issue administrative penalties for non-compliance with prescribed provisions of the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012, including digging without locates or not delivering locates within specified timelines.
“Ontario One Call will be implementing this new regulation in a very thoughtful way, relying on existing compliance tools to encourage locate performance improvement over time. In so doing, our objective is to usher in a new era of collaboration between industry participants that delivers industry performance improvement and allows projects to be completed on schedule. As such, our focus remains on ensuring individuals are aware of their responsibilities under the Act and working with them towards a common goal of compliance with the law. As a result, One Call will make every effort to educate individuals on their responsibilities under the Act, with penalties used only where appropriate in the exercise of independent discretion by Ontario One Call’s assessors appointed under the Act,” Jim Keech, President and CEO of Ontario One Call.
“The service we provide is vital and protects people from harm and infrastructure damage. We work closely with excavators and infrastructure owners to encourage locates be delivered on time. We have an important role to play in supporting Ontario’s appetite for growth,” One Call’s Keech added.
“Ontario One Call plays a vital role in the success of the province’s construction activities,” said Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery, Kaleed Rasheed. “Not only does the organization help educate the public about the need for safe digging practices, it plays a key role in helping the Ontario government deliver on some of its most critical infrastructure commitments such as new home construction, building better public transit and laying the infrastructure for high-speed internet in underserved areas. Expanding Ontario One Call’s compliance tools can help support construction in Ontario by getting locates done safely and more quickly, helping the province deliver on the many infrastructure projects that are helping Ontarians and fueling our economic growth.”
View Ontario One Call’s Governance page to see letters between the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery and the Chair of Ontario One Call on the Administrative Penalty implementation.
Ontario One Call is a service-oriented regulator that acts as a communications link between underground infrastructure owners, and individuals who are planning to dig in the province of Ontario. In 2012, the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act was passed, which stipulates that anyone in the province of Ontario must contact Ontario One Call before they dig to obtain the location of underground infrastructure.
On February 13, 2023, Ontario One Call hosted a webinar for stakeholders to provide specific details on how the administrative penalty system would be implemented. Over 800 individuals attended the session and participated in a live Q&A discussion. The organization has also met with several industry associations, presented at targeted conferences and met with interested municipal parties to further inform all participants of their obligations as they prepare for this regulatory change. Additional resources and information can be found on Ontario One Call’s website at OntarioOneCall.ca.
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