December 15, 2014
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphyNew members are the lifeblood of any association. Just as Landscape Ontario is always looking for new members, so is your Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA). Being progressive and proactive, ORCGA is looking to double its current membership of 450 members to over 1,000 in the next two years. Any firm who digs and or excavates, can make a valuable contribution by becoming a new member. There are many good reasons to consider joining and supporting this organization.

Valuable Partnership

What are some of the important reasons for your firm to join ORCGA? It is a valuable partnership. By sharing these benefits with other firms, you can enhance your company’s position in your marketplace. It can also increase your profit and productivity. If what you learn through ORCGA can save you only one utility hit, it will pay for 24 years of your membership. This is true value and is like work insurance.  

Having your firm practice safe excavation practices, assures your customers that you are not only safety conscious, but you value your employees’ safety. Customers want to deal with safety minded companies. With a membership, you have an advantage over non-members!

Being members of a professional organization translates professionalism into your business model. This promotes safety, worker protection and professionalism within your firm.
Your firm can participate in professional training for the development of qualified locators, assuring timely and accurate locates.

ORCGA provides an industry publication, Ear to the Ground, to provide members with up-to-date information from governments and regulators. This free publication is available twice a year, and includes industry stories, facts and figures and allows the ORCGA a vehicle to communicate more effectively with the industry. It also updates you on any new laws or safety regulations that may save you money on fines and penalties.

Sign ALA agreements

ORCGA reminds member firms to contact the utilities in their market area and to sign ALA agreements. These will allow Ont1Call to give your firm approval over the phone to dig. It also eliminates the need for a locator to visit your project for normal markings. When using this service, there  is no need to put actual markings on the ground before digging starts. By saving only one day due to locate delays, a landscape firm can save over $500 for that day. These ALAs are free to industry excavators.

The Winter Symposium, Fall Expo, Rodeo, and Local Geographic Council meetings are events that provide many opportunities for developing relationships with fellow industry professionals. This will result in great chances to further your company’s productivity and profit. Most events are free and provide members with important damage prevention information and networking opportunities.

ORCGA represents the damage prevention industry. This representation allowed the industry to secure the passage of Bill 8 in the Provincial Legislature. This Bill not only brings all utility owners under one roof, but solidifies what was a fragmented structure of enforcement, under Ont1Call. This lobbying was the result of a unified industry effort under the ORCGA. Mapping of all underground utility assets must be submitted to Ont1Call under this legislation.

Counsil networking

The 13 geographic councils of ORCGA allow members to participate in local area functions, such as the annual April Dig Safe. Local meetings allow members contact with their fellow industry professionals, together with industry suppliers.

Members promote to the public, and other industry firms such as Home Depot, Tim Hortons and others partner with the ORCGA creating special damage preventions promotions.

Best Practices Manual

The Best Practices Manual is available to all members. This ORCGA document covers all associated industry excavation standards and provides industry members with proven industry safe practices that were developed by industry practioners with proven successful results. Following the established practices can save you many dollars.

Statistics are available to ORCGA members through the annual Damage Information Reporting Tool known as The DIRT Report. This allows members to learn about the root cause of utility strikes and what sectors of our Ontario industry are causing damages.

By networking, belonging to geographic councils and attending ORCGA events, members learn about locates, locate paperwork, TSSA requirements, Best Practices, new government regulations and other damage prevention information that can save them thousands of dollars.

Noticeable improvement

Calling ONT1Call is fully supported by the ORCGA and its members and its effectiveness is streamlined by the passage of Bill 8. ORCGA board members lobbied for the industry for passage of this Bill over a three-year period. This service will allow one telephone call to give you a locate in fewer than five days. You will see noticeable improvement in the next short while.

We welcome your inquiries on any of the above-mentioned items and any other membership questions. For more information, go to, or call 1-866-446-4493.
Terry Murphy can be reached at