Province Approves One Call Act Regulation

Topic: News
Published: February 2023

On April 14, 2022, the Getting Ontario Connected Act received Royal Assent, marking a major milestone in ensuring the safety of underground infrastructure in the province. The Act amended the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act (One Call Act) to address the current challenges faced by the locate delivery system. The changes aimed to enhance governance and oversight of Ontario One Call and improve its compliance tools with the overall goal of delivering quicker utility locate deliveries.

Strengthening Compliance and Enforcement

One of the key changes introduced by the Getting Ontario Connected Act is the authority granted to Ontario One Call to issue administrative penalties against non-compliant members and excavators in the industry, including municipalities. To implement this regime, a new regulation was developed that outlines the details of the administrative monetary penalties. This is intended to strengthen Ontario One Call’s enforcement and compliance framework by providing an additional tool to promote compliance with the One Call Act.

Stakeholder Feedback and Final Approval

The Ministry considered stakeholder feedback received from consultations held via the Ontario Regulatory Registry and industry roundtables, including that of Good Roads and its members. Good Roads had raised concerns relating to penalties as well as implementation and the use of funds collected through fines. On January 30, 2023, the Minister approved and signed the regulation, which will take effect on April 1, 2023. The regulation along with the finalized administrative monetary penalties can be viewed here.

Use of Funds

The regulation captures important details such as penalty amounts and the use of funds. The funds collected as administrative penalties serve several important purposes, including:

  1. Education and Awareness
    • To provide education to persons involved in the identification of underground infrastructure, including excavators, locators, and members of Ontario One Call. This education is critical in ensuring that everyone involved in the excavation process understands the importance of safe digging and the potential consequences of failing to do so.
  2. Promoting Safe Digging Practices
    • To raise public awareness of the need for safe digging and to promote safe digging practices. This can help reduce the number of incidents of damage to underground infrastructure, which can be costly and disruptive.
  3. Improving Timely Responses to Locate Requests
    • To support and improve timely responses to locate requests. This includes improving One Call’s mapping information systems, supporting and promoting the use of dedicated locators, encouraging more people to become locators, and carrying out research and consultations to support the locate request process.
  4. Funding Administration of the System of Administrative Penalties
    • To fund the administration of the system of administrative penalties. This includes the costs associated with implementing and enforcing the penalty regime, as well as any other administrative costs associated with One Call’s work in promoting safe digging practices.

Looking Ahead

Details pertaining to the administration and implementation of the system will be communicated by Ontario One Call in the near future. Good Roads will continue monitoring the issue and post updates as necessary.