Ottawa, June 17, 2015 – Today Senator Grant Mitchell tabled legislation that will create a federal underground infrastructure notification system which is consistent with most other provincial jurisdictions across Canada. See Bill S-233 in full.
The legislation will require owners and operators of federally regulated underground infrastructure to register with a provincial notification system. It also requires federally regulated entities to inform a notification centre if work results in a ground disturbance on federal lands, and for the ground location of the underground infrastructure to be marked following a locate request.
“This legislation has been a long time in the making,” said Alberta Senator Grant Mitchell. “During my time as deputy chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources, we heard testimony during two of our Senate studies which urged the expansion of notification centres across Canada. This is really about filling a policy gap that exists in this country. We’re encouraged that provinces like Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have developed either full or partial legislation requiring registration of buried infrastructure with the provincial notification system; however, we were amazed to learn that the federal government does not have similar requirements in place.”
Mike Sullivan, President of Alberta One-Call Corporation and Executive Director of the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA) commended Senator Mitchell for this initiative. “Securing damage prevention legislation and meaningful enforcement of same, across all jurisdictions in Canada has been a longstanding goal of the CCGA.”
Sullivan continued, stating that “we are very pleased with this initiative and believe it will contribute to safer digging practices and reduce damages to underground infrastructure across Canada. We look forward to working with the government of Canada to ensure the integrity of our country’s critical buried infrastructure is recognized and that workers and owners and operators of underground infrastructure are protected in every jurisdiction across the country.”
In spite of the upcoming end of the parliamentary session, Senator Mitchell chose to table this bill in order to initiate debate on this important issue. He intends to reintroduce it at the start of the next session. “This legislation will send a strong message to our provincial partners that the federal government takes safe digging practices seriously.”