TORONTO, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA), and its over 460 member organizations, today congratulated the Ontario Legislature on passing Bill 8, the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012.
Bill 8 was introduced on November 24, 2011, by MPP Bob Bailey, and MPP Paul Miller, and proposed to make participation in a province-wide 'one call' system mandatory for all owners of underground assets. The previous 'voluntary' system has resulted in numerous strikes to our province's critical infrastructure network, during excavation, construction projects and routine renovations.
"Today marks a significant milestone for the province. The Ontario Legislature has responded to the expressed wishes of hundreds of stakeholder groups who have long recognized how important a 'one call' system is in terms of protecting critical underground assets, and more importantly, the health and safety of all Ontarians," said Jim Douglas, President, ORCGA.
After a legislative process that included formal presentations and submissions from over 50 supportive stakeholder groups, the Bill was passed into law today. This marks the first Private Members Bill to pass Third Reading in this session of parliament.
Following proclamation, the Act will enable any excavator to call just one number in order to receive all required underground locates at no cost. This corrects the previous system that forces excavators to call up to 13 different numbers, in part which has contributed to the thousands of accidental strikes that occur each year.
Currently, all 50 US States have a mandatory 'one call' system in place. This initiative has led to a 70% reduction in damages, and a 99% success rate in terms of locate calls resulting in safe excavations in those jurisdictions.
"The ORCGA is encouraged by the passage of this long awaited legislation, and we are eager to start working with the Ontario government and other stakeholders on establishing regulations and ensuring the system will be as effective as possible," concluded Jim Douglas.
The ORCGA would like to thank all of its member companies who have provided support for the one call legislation initiative over the years. Also, thanks to those members who took the time to present at the committee meeting and for all the others who sent in letters of support. We would also like to say a very special thanks to our Bill 8 government relations team who have worked diligently and contributed a great deal to our success.
About the ORCGA
The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) is an organization that promotes efficient and effective damage prevention for Ontario's vital underground infrastructure. Through a unified approach and stakeholder consensus, ORCGA continues to strive to embody its motto of "Working Together for a Safer Ontario".
The ORCGA is a growing organization with over 460 organizations as active members and sponsors, and represents a wide cross section of Ontario stakeholders including:
- Oil & Gas Distribution
- One Call
- Equipment Manufacturers & Suppliers
- Transmission Pipeline
- Safety Organizations
- Road Builders
- Municipal & Public Works
- Land Surveying
- Electrical Distribution
- Electrical Transmission
For over a decade these stakeholder groups have been active in promoting "Call Before You Dig" and other damage prevention initiatives. Recognizing that public education and a mandatory 'one call' system will not only help protect expensive assets, but will also protect the health of the general public, these groups continue to be actively involved in all operations of the organization.
The ORCGA has been a regional chapter of the Common Ground Alliance based in Alexandria, VA since April 2003.
For further information:
President & CEO
Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance
Email: [email protected]