July 15, 2012
Bill to establish one-call centre passes
Bill 8, known as the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012, is now law.

The Bill establishes a not-for-profit, single point-of-contact call system for all underground infrastructure location services in Ontario. It was passed by the Legislative Assembly on June 14.  

Formerly the Ontario One Call Ltd. Act, the new law will establish an industry-funded mandatory one call centre.

Introduced as a private member’s bill last October by Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, the process included formal presentations and submissions from over 50 supportive stakeholder groups.

Bailey stated, “This new law isn’t just about streamlining a confusing system; it’s about preventing accidents and saving lives. But also, this law will cut red tape, allow shovels to get into the ground quicker and put job creating plans into action faster.”

Research by the Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) has shown that when an excavator notified a locate call centre before digging, damage occurred less than one per cent of the time.

ORCGA president Jim Douglas said, “Today marks a significant milestone for the province. The Ontario Legislature has responded to the expressed wishes of hundreds of stakeholder groups who have long recognized how important a ‘one call’ system is in terms of protecting critical underground assets, and more importantly, the health and safety of all Ontarians.”

Douglas continued, “ORCGA would like to thank all of its member companies who have provided support for the one call legislation initiative over the years. Also, thanks to those members who took the time to present at the committee meeting and for all the others who sent in letters of support.”

LO has representation on ORCGA in Terry Murphy, retired director of education and safety at LO. “I am very proud to be part of the team and represent LO in this regard. It is always satisfying to be part of something that has real value and especially this one, which will save lives and keep societal costs at a minimum,” said Murphy. His column appears each month in Landscape Ontario magazine.

The Act will enable any excavator to call just one number in order to receive all required underground locates at no cost. This corrects the previous system that forced excavators to call up to 13 different numbers, which contributed in part to the thousands of accidental strikes that occur each year.

“By streamlining the locate process, a one call system will assist businesses and municipalities across the province to launch projects and get shovels in the ground sooner, bringing jobs in on time and under budget — a must in today’s tough economic environment,” said Bailey.