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  • The Law

    The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) is an organization promoting efficient and effective damage prevention for Ontario’s vital underground infrastructure. It has put together publicizations for the best practices to follow and some of the laws that mandate private and public locates to be completed prior to excavation. Information on the following regulatory acts listed below is for information purpose only, and are not to be used as legal advice.

    This comes right from the ORCGA best practices publication for damage prevention.

    4-2: Privately Owned Facility Awareness (New 02/2008) Practice Statement

    – Prior to excavating, the excavator must be aware that privately owned buried facilities may exist within the work area and should request the private facility owner (e.g. landowner) to locate his/her underground facilities. Practice Description – Privately owned underground facilities may not be marked by representatives of the public facility owners beyond the demarcation point of each facility (e.g. Private Property). The private facility owner is responsible for identifying the location of these buried facilities. Identification activities may include, but are not limited to: provision of maps, provision of engineering drawings from previous workings and/or retaining or authorizing the deployment of a private locator.

    Ontario Regulation 213/92 (Construction Projects) Section 228, Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance Best Practices Version 8.0 – June 2014, page 54)

    Other regulations that pertain to both private and public locates:

    The new Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System (also referred to as the 1Call Act) states:

    (2) No excavator shall commence an excavation or dig unless,

    (a) it has contacted the Corporation to request locates for all underground infrastructure that may be affected by the excavation or dig;

    (b) each member that owns or operates underground infrastructure that may be affected by an excavation or dig has properly provided locates for its affected underground infrastructure or has stated in writing that none of its underground infrastructure will be affected by the excavation or dig; and

    (c) if locates are properly provided, the excavator has ensured that the locate markings on the ground do not conflict with the written information provided respecting the underground infrastructure. 2012, c. 4, s. 7 (2).

    Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000, Ontario Regulation 210/01, Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems

    Ascertaining pipeline locations

    9. (1) No person shall dig, bore, trench, grade, excavate or break ground with mechanical equipment or explosives without first ascertaining from the licence holder the location of any pipeline that may be interfered with. O. Reg. 210/01, s. 9 (1).

    9. (2) The licence holder shall provide as accurate information as possible on the location of any pipeline within a reasonable time in all the circumstances. O. Reg. 210/01, s. 9 (2).

    No interference with pipeline

    10. No person shall interfere with or damage any pipeline without authority to do so. O. Reg. 210/01, s.10.

    Electricity Act, 1998 – Ontario Regulation 22/04 (Amended to O. Reg. 149/05), Electrical distribution safety:

    Proximity to distribution lines:

    10. (3) Before digging, boring, trenching, grading, excavating or breaking ground with tools, mechanical equipment or explosives, a contractor, owner or occupant of land, buildings or premises shall, in the interests of safety, ascertain from the distributor responsible for the distribution of electricity to the land, building or premises the location of any underground distribution line that may be interfered with in the course of such activities. O. Reg. 22/04, s. 10 (3).