March 9, 2023
Changes made to locates legislation
Bill 93 was passed to remove barriers for timeline delivery of locates, enhance the governance and oversight of OneCall, and augment the tools that the excavator uses.

There are three parties to this. Ontario OneCall, the Member (the organization with underground utilities that is providing the locates) and the Excavator. As landscapers, we are considered the Excavator.

The main goals of the bill are to:
  1. Reduce late locates.
  2. Reduce locate requests without intent to dig.
  3. Reduce digging without locates.
  4. Prioritize provincially important projects (bandwidth, new subdivisions/housing, etc.)

The changes that have happened so far:
  • The validity period of locates has been extended to be a minimum of 60 days.
  • Prohibition of locates requested more than 30 days prior to the intended excavation date.
  • Sharing locates is permitted if on the same site as another contractor. Ontario One Call must be made aware and/or the persons shared with must be documented who and why.
  • Member locates performance has been augmented.
  • Member and Excavator recourse -the right to receive compensation if the other party contravened the act.

Locating underground utilities is deemed vital to the provinces construction industry. Delays in receiving locates impact this. Therefore Ontario One Call needs more tools to strengthen compliance from all parties. There will be more regulations, policies, and procedures given out in April once the legislation is passed but there will be a system of warning letters and mediated conversations before any financial prosecution occurs.

The proposed fines are as follows:

  • Digging without locates: $10,000 fine.
  • Failure to comply with requirements (includes digging with expired locates): $8,000 fine.
  • Sharing locates without providing notification to OneCall or without proper documentation: $200 fine.
  • Excavator submitting locates more than 30 days out from intended excavation date: $250 fine.

  • Locates validity starts from that date of receipt.
  • Proper documentation of shared locates is a live register on site of who we're sharing with, their contact information, and why we are sharing it with them. This can be done on a locates cover page.
  • When sharing locates, the person excavating is liable if they cause damage to infrastructure. This means that if we as the project owner is providing locates to a subcontractor on site, they are still responsible for reviewing the locates package, making sure they are excavating within the bounds of what we've submitted, and reviewing the markings. If they cause damage, they are liable, not us.
  • If the original intent was to excavate within 30 days that will not constitute a fine.
  • For planning purposes, excavators can submit a design and planning locate request and are discouraged from submitting a standard locate request to prevent ticket dumping.
  • Private locates are the responsibility of the homeowner and excavator.
  • An emergency request can be submitted if there is a loss of utility services that could result in an imminent threat to people of the environment.
  • If the locates expire due to member non-compliance we must stop excavation until all members provide a response.
  • If snow covers the marks then marks must be refreshed/remarked.

  • Member's failure to meet timelines for standard locate requests: $300 fine.
  • Members failure to meet timelines for emergency locates: $1,000 fine.
  • Failure of affected member to notify about a change in locate information within two business days after becoming aware of the change to the corporation and excavator: $200 fine.
  • Failure of the member to notify the Corporation that it has done the things required by subsection 6(1) within 3 business days: $250 fine.

As of April 1, 2023 the new system will be in place. The intent of Ontario One Call is to take the summer to work with both members and excavators to ensure compliance. They anticipate that, in the fall, they'll be looking to use the administrative penalties where they have not seen any improvement from members/excavators on a case by case basis.

Data that OOC collects is the primary driver in determining when to trigger investigative work as well as complaints against members. The Administrative Penalties will be proactive and proportional. History of compliance and proactive communication will be considered when going through the procedures. Ontario One Call has given a commitment that we will never be blindsided by an administrative penalty. Unless the issue is very egregious, the first course of action will not be the administrative penalty.

If an administrative penalty is given, we have the right to appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal within 15 calendar days. After 15 days, the AP will stand. Notices given out of administrative penalties will contain information on the process of appealing an AP. The information can be found on the Ontario One Call website as well.

Additional resources:

Administrative Penalties Ontario Regulation
Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 (Bill 93): Schedule 2 has the information on locates.
Member and Excavator Recourse
Locates Sharing Best Practices


  • Implement a 'Locates Cover Page' on our locates package that clearly states which locates are included, the expiration date, and contains a sign in sheet for subcontractors to share the locates package if needed. This gives the excavator the information they need to be assured they do not have expired locates and brings us into compliance if we are sharing locates with a subcontractor after the work to begin by date has passed.
  • Download a copy of the construction schedule, date it, and save it to a folder so that, if need be, we can prove intent to dig within 30 days. Save any client communication that indicates unexpected delay in the schedule.
  • Refining the relocate distribution process. It's a very tight timeline we have to work with to get any relocates out to the crews as they do not allow us to relocates until five days before expiry and the members have up to five days to relocate -I'm still seeking clarity on this to see if having locates available digitally on site will be acceptable or if they have to be printed.
  • Locates organization on site -there should be one copy per machine as well as one per crew hand digging. I would recommend an extra copy for any subs.
  • If you have any difficulty with members, dedicated locators, excavators, subs etc. make sure that you're documenting and recording all communication and efforts to comply with the legislation and mediation so that you can give that to Ontario One Call if the need arises.