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Bill S-229: Underground Infrastructure

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The senate is currently reviewing a private members bill S-229 "An Act respecting underground infrastructure safety" that would: 
  • require operators of underground infrastructure that is federally regulated or on federal land to register that infrastructure with a notification centre;
  • require people who are planning to dig to first make a "locate request" with the relevant notification centre; and
  • require operators of underground infrastructure to provide a clear description of the location of the underground infrastructure and to provide an all-clear prior to proceeding with any excavation.

This Act if passed would apply to member infrastructure only on federal lands. It’s also important to note that it doesn’t suggest forming a new notification centre, rather it would just use existing centres in each province – the challenge will be in provinces where a "one-call" centre doesn’t exist. Where a centre isn’t already established it could create costs both for the utility to register infrastructure with it and for the jurisdiction to establish.

A  concern with the proposed Act is around fees for locates – the Act would not allow utilities to charge a fee unless after hours, which may not be the current practice for some.

The proposed Act 

 

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