Ear to the Ground - Spring 2013 - (Page 15)
B Y G E O F F F I T Z G I B B O N , E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R , O N TA R I O O N E C A L L
Bill 8 is Law: Now What?
ill 8, or to use its proper title, the Ontario Underground
Infrastructure Notification System Act 2012, became
law June 19, 2012. What does that mean now for contractors and the owners of buried infrastructure? What do you have to do to stay
The draft regulations that will shape
the final implementation of the act are
passing through the consultation phase
now, with more than 60 key stakeholders being asked for comments, and so
not all of the answers are known yet.
We do know the broad list of obligations that the act applies to excavators
• Anyone who breaks the ground for
any purpose must call for locates
within at least five days of the
• Excavators aret not permitted to
break the ground unless they have
all the necessary locates or a written Clear notice; a locate’s paint
marks and the associated locate
sheet’s information must agree.
• Owners must register with ON1Call the location of their
buried plant and must also identify for ON1Call where the
locate tickets are to be sent for action.
• Non-municipal owners (600 or so) must register by June 18,
2013; municipalities (275 approximately) have until June
• Owners must also provide the requested locates within five
days unless it is unreasonable in the circumstances (severe
weather events, for example) or another period has been
agreed with the excavator.
For full details of the act: contact ON1Call, the Ministry of
Consumer Services or check out E-laws online.
Both excavators and members are non-compliant if they
fail to observe the above conditions, and ON1Call has been
given the role and authority to proceed against either party—
if necessary—to ensure compliance. A number of actions are
available to the ON1Call Compliance Committee, from requiring education and staff training about workplace safety, and/
or a short-term compliance plan, to financial sanctions and
fines. The compliance process is being defined but some of
its guiding principals will be:
1. What is reasonable in the circumstances?
2. How prevalent is the organization’s behaviour?
3. What is appropriate?
S P R I N G 13
4. Is another regulator already involved, and enforcing
ON1Call’s penalties also would be unwarranted?
The coverage of the act is being refined to reflect what
is intended by the geographical criteria regarding
infrastructure crossing a public right of
way or is in its vicinity. We all want to
protect the various utility services we
rely upon, such as water, telecommunications, hydro and gas, but does the
a really intend to cover every homeowner who also owns the sewer lato
eral between the property line and the
sewer trunk, because the local municise
pality passed a bylaw that passes over
Similarly, is it intended that every
cottage owner should register because
the demarcation point for his electrical
service is a pole-mounted transformer at
These and many other questions are
bein resolved by the Ministry of Consumer
Services, in conjunction with ON1Call and
vario subject matter experts.
What is the future likely to hold, now that
Bill 8 is law? My guesses:
1. The act will lead to greater discussion and negotiation
between owners and excavators, now that everyone is
covered by the act; we are all in it together.
2. It should lead to better coordination between all parties,
so that some of the current wastage caused by outdated
locates, etc, is eliminated.
3. The “bad apples” who chronically claim they either cannot
provide timely locates or have insufﬁcient enough time to
get proper locates, will be more visible and will have to plan
their work and resources better, or face the consequences;
what is it about each year having a peak digging season
that is such a surprise?
4. A gradual acceptance of best practices as just normal operating procedure in the future
Increased professionalism and profitability for those who
get ahead of the curve by embracing new methods, such
as rationalizing the way locates are performed; for example,
does it make economic sense for a municipality to have separate locating staff for each of its services?
The pioneers of this legislation cannot be thanked enough
for their commitment and foresight. The rest of us now need
to grasp the act’s challenge, of making Ontario the safest and
most efficient excavation environment that we can.
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WHERE WE ARE TODAY
10TH ANNIVERSARY SYMPOSIUM
BILL 8 IS LAW: NOW WHAT?
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Ear to the Ground - Spring 2013