March 15, 2013
By Terry Murphy CLP

Terry MurphyCongratulations to the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) for its 10th year in business and all the great work that has been accomplished over that period of time.

This milestone was recently celebrated in early February at a three-day convention.
The Alliance has a number of accomplishments that deserve to be celebrated. Starting in 2003, ORCGA has now grown to 460 member firms, and become self-sustaining without any financial support from the government. It is now one of the premier associations that focus on North America’s underground industry.

Accomplished in this decade

  • Almost all Ontario utility organizations belong to a common entity, On1Call System.
  • Bill 8, which was backed by the ORCGA, passed in the Ontario legislature, brings a regional focus and mandated by law, requires that all underground industry firms participate in the locate process.
  • A convention and trade show with seminars and networking is held each year, similar to Landscape Ontario’s Congress.
  • Industry stakeholders through a process of consensus, agreed to A Best Practices Manual, including all aspects of safe digging.
  • An annual awards ceremony, including a hall of fame, volunteer of the year, excavator of the year in key industry sectors.
  • An annual locate rodeo competition.
  • A quarterly publication Ear to the Ground to bring important issues and articles to the industry.
  • Twenty–three volunteer board of directors (major industry firms) who meet five times a years (Landscape Ontario is represented) to guide the ORCGA.
  • A regional network of ORCGA chapters, called Geographic Councils, to promote damage prevention by area in the province (similar to LO Chapters).
  • A damage prevention reporting system, DIRT, that provides records and statistics on all damages and hits to underground utilities in Ontario.
  • Strategic partnerships with organizations, such as Children’s Safety Village, the insurance industry, and proposed with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office.
The above are just some of the very important contributions that have been organized and developed over the last ten years.

At the ORCGA awards ceremony, it was a proud moment in the evening to see Landscape Ontario member, Lomco Landscape Contractors of Newmarket, accept the Landscape Excavator of the Year Award. Company president Joe Lombardi was on hand to accept the award. This firm obtains over 2,000 locates every year and had the lowest ratio of strikes per locate in this category. The scoring information comes from the industry DIRT Program. Considering over 8,000 horticultural firms in the Ontario industry, Lomco has done a great job in this area and has really demonstrated its due diligence in damage.

Congratulations to Lomco Landscape Contractors and employees for this accomplishment.
Contact Terry Murphy at with any comments or suggestions on this article.