Development of a Municipal Dedicated Locator Service Provider Agreement
April 3, 2023
The Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act governs the notification process and timelines for utilities to provide underground infrastructure locates. Under the normal notification process, Ontario One Call notifies affected utility owners/operators of any planned excavations allowing them to provide locates to protect to their underground infrastructure from being damaged and prevent injury to workers. Under the current legislation regular locates are to be completed within 5 business days, with locates usually provided at no cost to the requester. With minimal regulation in the past, the current model has led to locate delays and increased construction costs, particularly for projects.
Dedicated Locator Model
The passing of Bill 93 - Getting Ontario Connected Act in 2022 established a new “dedicated locator” option within the Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System Act. The dedicated locator process allows project owners to hire their own Dedicated Locate Service Provider (DLSP) at their cost to complete all required locates on behalf of all of utility owners within their project limits. This model enables projects to have more timely and coordinated locates, with construction stage efficiencies and cost savings offsetting the expense of project owners having to pay for the full cost of locates.
The dedicated locator process is mandated for priority provincial projects such as broadband, but it is also an option available to any project owner. Once a project owner makes contact with a utility owner regarding their dedicated locator project, utility owners have only 10 business days to:
- enter into an agreement to allow the project owner’s DLSP to locate its services; and,
- provide the project owner’s DLSP with access to the infrastructure records necessary to perform the locates.
The legislation requires full compliance with the dedicated locator program and there is no option to opt out. Through O.Reg. 14/23 penalties for non-compliance come into force on April 1, 2023.
Municipalities across Ontario are already being required to quickly develop and enter into multiple Dedicated Locator Agreements with various DLSP hired by project owners. The only way the 10-day timeframe can be met is for municipalities to have a pre-approved standard-form Dedicated Locator Model agreement readily available.
To assist in this challenge, the Municipal Engineers Association is forming a working group to further develop a template agreement for use by municipalities to establish the terms and conditions for the provision of locates on their behalf.
Working Group Leads & Work Plan
The working group sponsor is Richard Noehammer, P.Eng. (City of Toronto) and the facilitation lead is Eric Boere (Halton Region). Coordination will be provided by Amin Mniena, E.I.T. (MEA).
Once the working group has been established, the following draft work plan will be confirmed and scheduled:
Meeting #1 – Technical review of consolidated ‘best-of-breeds’ Municipal Dedicated Locator Service Provider Agreement.
Assignment #1 – Legal review of updated DRAFT agreement by the legal services contacts of working group members.
Assignment #2 – MEA receipt and consolidation of legal review feedback into a second DRAFT agreement.
Meeting #2 – Review and submit FINAL Municipal Dedicated Locator Service Provider Agreement for circulation to the MEA general membership.
Assignment #3 – Posting of Municipal Dedicated Locator Service Provider Agreement v.1.0 to MEA website.
To ensure province-wide participation is possible, the two meetings are proposed to be held virtually.