Legislative Amendments to the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act, 2012 under the Building Infrastructure Safely Act, 2024

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Building Infrastructure Safely Act, 2024
Summary of Decision:
Bill 153, the Building Infrastructure Safely Act, 2024 was passed by the Legislature and received Royal Assent on March 6, 2024.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The legislative changes are not anticipated to create any direct new costs or savings for government, underground infrastructure owners, excavators, locate service providers, or Ontario One Call.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
March 11, 2024
Summary of Proposal:
Ontario One Call (One Call) is mandated under the One Call Act to serve as a single point of contact for all underground infrastructure locate requests. Locates are written information and markings on the ground which identify underground infrastructure (e.g., gas, water and sewer lines).

All owners and operators of underground infrastructure must become members of One Call. One Call's members include gas, electrical, telecommunication companies, and all municipalities that own or operate underground infrastructure in Ontario.

Locating underground infrastructure is vital for public safety and 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 sometimes delayed which can impact excavation projects, resulting in significant delays and cost implications.

In June 2023, the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (MPBSD) and Ontario One Call consulted industry stakeholders on how best to support underground infrastructure owners/operators to provide cost-effective locates, and excavators to efficiently deliver key infrastructure projects.

The following legislative amendments were made to improve efficiencies in locate delivery, respond to stakeholder concerns and help ensure the efficient and sustainable operation of Ontario One Call, while also limiting cost impacts for underground infrastructure owners and operators:

1. Prohibit underground infrastructure owners/operators from charging a fee for locates. Currently, the Act prohibits One Call from charging a person submitting a locate request, but it does not explicitly authorize or prohibit underground infrastructure owners/operators from charging for delivering locates. This amendment will ensure that infrastructure owners are prohibited from charging excavators or the public for the provision of locates, which would minimize any public safety risks and align with the long-standing industry practice in Canada and the United States that locates are provided free of charge.

2. Remove the excavator recourse provision in section 17(1)(c) of the One Call Act that entitles excavators to compensation and to seek recourse, through the Ontario Land Tribunal against underground infrastructure owners/operators for failing to provide a locate within the legislated time limit. This provision was added to the Act in 2022, however there are other mechanisms now in place to hold members accountable for meeting the timelines, such as administrative penalties, which comes into effect in Spring 2024. Some members have raised concerns with the multiple avenues for potential financial consequences related to non-compliance with the time limits for the delivery of locates.

3. Align certain One Call powers and responsibilities with other administrative authorities in key areas:

• Provide One Call with explicit authority to charge and collect fees from its members and others such as project owners, similar to all other administrative authorities.
• Allow the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery to specify additional objects for One Call (similar to the Technical Standards and Safety Authority);
• Provide protections for statutory officials, One Call officers and directors, employees, and agents from personal liability; and
• Set out that certain provisions of the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 do not apply to One Call relating to member approval of by-law changes that are necessary to implement Minister's Orders.

4. Enhance the Minister's regulation-making powers (for example, relating to how excavators request locates) and to make consequential amendments to implement the proposals.

These changes are in addition to other proposals the Ministry is working on in response to stakeholder consultations, such as the completed consultation on a regulation to provide a longer locate timeline for large projects under the One Call Act. This proposal was published to Ontario's Regulatory Registry (now closed for comment) and can be viewed at the link above.

The Ministry will bring forward other regulatory proposals in 2024 related to enhancements to the dedicated locator model and related to deep excavations, which will also be posted for public review and comment on the Ontario Regulatory Registry.

Privacy Statement

Please note that unless agreed otherwise by the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery, all submissions received from organizations in response to this consultation will be considered public information and may be used and disclosed by the ministry to assist the ministry in evaluating and revising its proposal. This may involve disclosing any response received, or summaries of them, to other interested parties.

An individual who provides a response and indicates an affiliation with an organization will be considered to have submitted the response on behalf of that organization.
Contact Address:
Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
Public Safety and Operations Policy Branch
56 Wellesley St. West, 6th floor
Toronto, ON M7A 1C1
Royal Assent Date:
March 6, 2024