Proposed legislative amendments to the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 under the Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022
Bill or Act:
Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022
Summary of Decision:
The legislative amendments to the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 as part of Bill 93, Getting Ontario Connected Act, 2022 received Royal Assent on April 14, 2022.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The legislative measures under the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 (the Act) would, among other things, help improve the processes and requirements related to determining the location of underground infrastructure, enabling construction activities in the province to be completed faster and more efficiently, without compromising safety.
Overall, the legislative framework would minimize project delays and provide greater control over when locate information will be delivered. Several proposed amendments are anticipated to result in cost-savings for the construction industry and would result in reduced administrative burden for both excavators and underground infrastructure owners/operators. For example, the proposed new dedicated locator model would likely reduce costs for owners/operators, as the costs for completing those locates would now be absorbed by project owners. This change would provide owners/operators an opportunity to use these savings and hire resources to respond to standard locate requests in a timely manner. Longer and standardized locate validity periods of at least 60 days are also expected to reduce duplication and burden on excavators and underground infrastructure owners/operators due to reduced need for relocates to be completed.
Overall, the costs and savings associated with complying with new legislative requirements are difficult to estimate based on the unpredictability in forecasting locate requests regionally and seasonally. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services requested that if applicable, stakeholders submit their estimated costs to comply with the new requirements in the proposed legislative amendments to the Act.
Most stakeholders did not share costing concerns; however, some underground infrastructure owners/operators noted the possibility of incurring additional costs to resource accordingly to deliver locate information within the prescribed timelines.
March 8, 2022
Summary of Proposal:
Locating underground infrastructure is vital to the province's construction activities and supports related government priorities such as accelerating access to high-speed internet and increasing housing supply. However, the delivery timelines for locating underground infrastructure are often delayed which can impact excavation projects, resulting in significant delays and cost implications.
On November 30, 2021, the Ministry of Infrastructure issued the Building Broadband Faster Guideline to outline new and best practices, processes, and timelines for rights-of-way, hydro pole attachments and underground infrastructure access (e.g., a recommended service standard of 10 or 15 days for municipalities to respond to permit applications for buried route right of way access). To provide a higher degree of confidence and certainty to participants in the reverse auction (i.e., Internet Service Provers or ISPs), a Statement of Intent was also released as part of the Guideline.
The Statement of Intent signaled the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services would develop a legislative proposal under the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 to, among other things, address issues with late locates and enhance locate delivery across the province. It was noted in the Statement of Intent that these proposed amendments would include mandating the use of a dedicated locator model where a single locator is pre-identified to better provide the project owner with control over the timing of locates and standardizing locate validity periods to eliminate the frequency of relocates and improving the remarking process to be more efficient.
The complete proposal is attached to this posting. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services welcomes feedback on the proposed legislative amendments.
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Public Safety and Operations Policy Branch
56 Wellesley St. West, 6th floor
Toronto, ON M7A 1C1
Attention: Sharmila Uruthiranandasivam, Senior Policy Advisor
April 14, 2022