Implementation of the New Act
The Ministry of Consumer Services initiated a consultation process for the implementation of the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act (commonly known as the 1 Call Act). As most already know, the Ontario Legislature passed this act into force last June, in order to make membership in ON1Call mandatory for all utilities and making it illegal for excavators to initiate work without contacting ON1Call. Our article on the passing of this can be found by clicking here. The consultation they are now undertaking is to develop policies for the implementation of the Act in terms of policy and regulatory development as well as oversight of ON1Call performance.
Among a number of proposal that have been mades, we found a few that were particularly interesting:
1. It is proposed that fines up to $10,000 be available in the regulations for failure of a member to provide a locate within 5 days. This should be of particular interest to consultants and drillers as it would appear that the Act will be getting serious about having locates provided in a timely manner. Drillers and consultants share in the current misery of waiting weeks for locates in many cases.
2. For those undertaking excavations (including drilling) without locates, fines of up to $1million will be available.
3. A performance monitoring system is proposed, whereby a utility is required to report back to ON1Call the date and time that a locate was completed and that all damages to utilities be reported to ON1Call.
The rollout of this Act and the associated regulations and policies is an extremely important issue to environmental and geotechnical consultants and drillers. We will continue to monitor and report back on the implementation. Ideally, we will report in the future that locates are all being completed within 5 days and assessment and drilling investigations are staying on schedule. That ideal world scenario is likely several years away (at least).
Date: April 2013