The utility locate landscape in Ontario has changed because, in April 2022, the Ontario Government introduced amendments to the OUINS Act. These changes now affect how locates are managed, and the Act now has a new regulation that allows administrative penalties for non-compliance in certain situations. This includes a late locate for a standard locate request or failure by the utility owner to notify the excavator of any change in information affecting the locate before the end of the locate validity period.

Penalties can also imply continuing dig work past the validity period of a locate. Failure to notify of a dig project within 90 days of breaking ground can also result in administrative penalties.

Understanding the Regulations

Knowing this new regulation is important because it is a great step in the right direction. It is in place to help the industry reduce late locates and damages to buried utility infrastructure. Before you rely on locates or direct field staff, you must be aware of the penalties you may face if you proceed incorrectly. Failure to follow the right steps can result in big headaches, but understanding the changing utility locate landscape in Ontario will eliminate the possibility of fines.

What Penalties Can One Face In Ontario?

The penalty for digging without locates or with incorrect locates is $10,000! This is a fine you want to avoid. Additionally, working with expired locates also carries a hefty penalty of $8,000, another fine you’ll want to avoid. All teams must prepare their project supervisors and field staff to avoid monetary consequences. The first step is to understand the penalties you can face. Understanding the importance of safety when breaking ground is equally as important.

What To Expect From Utility Locators in Ontario

Reputable utility locators in Ontario will discuss this new regulation and answer any questions you have. Whether you are planning to build a fence or a deck, plant a tree, or dig a new garden, you must first contact Ontario One Call at least five business days before digging. It’s easy, and it’s the law. There are steps you must take for any project that requires digging to ensure safety.

Ontario One Call will notify buried infrastructure owners that you plan to dig. Representatives from a utility locator company will then come out to mark the location of buried underground lines and cables so that you can dig safely.

To avoid penalties, you must request locates. The first step is to submit a locate request at least 5 business days before you start digging. Infrastructure owners will be notified regarding your plans. Locators from each buried infrastructure owner will then come out to locate the buried lines and cables. The final step will allow you to dig safely without facing any fines. You’ll have to respect the marks and follow the instructions.

What is the Reason Behind These Changes?

These changes are in place to remove barriers to the timely delivery of locates. The changes also help enhance the governance and oversight of One Call while augmenting the excavator’s tools. The new bill is in place to achieve a few goals, including reducing late locates, digging without locates, locate requests without intent to dig, and prioritizing provincially important projects.

Locating underground utilities is considered vital to the province’s construction industry. Delays in receiving locates impact this process, which is why Ontario One Call needs more tools to strengthen compliance from all parties. More regulations, policies, and procedures will continue to be added, although you can expect a system of warning letters and mediated conversations before any financial prosecution takes place.

Excavators will face high fines if they dig without locates or fail to comply with requirements. Sharing locates without providing notification or proper documentation will also result in a fine, as will submitting locates more than 30 days from the intended excavation date.

Count On Us For Superior Utility Locating Services

Are you looking for a utility locator in Ontario? Ontario Utility Locates Inc. will provide all the information regarding these new changes. We will clarify details and ensure you know the new utility locate landscape in Ontario. Contact us today to learn more.

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