December 15, 2015
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphyWe are now finishing 2015. It has been a very good year in the underground damage prevention movement. Both the landscaping and fencing sectors greatly reduced utility hits and both increased locate requests. This makes for a marked improvement in the measurement statistic of hits per 1,000 locate requests, which is the key benchmark for excavator performance.
This is the first time in many years that both industry sectors have shown solid improvement.  

Speakers’ Corner

Landscape Ontario and the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) have announced a new event at Congress this year. It is an in-depth look at damage prevention from nine key areas. It is called Speakers’ Corner. We will present a series of three short informative talks each day of the three-day show. Each talk will be 20 - 25 minutes followed by a short Q. & A. session. At the end of each talk, there will be a draw for $50 cash.

These short 25-minute presentations will greatly assist those who try to combine Congress all in one day.

One can take in one session in half-an-hour. If one wishes to take in all three talks in one day, it will take 90 minutes from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Speakers’ Corner will take place on the exhibit floor, in the south hall, next to the café area, in the aisle that leads into the main seminar area. There will be seating for 30 people.  

A complete schedule with speakers and times may be found at

All talks are delivered by industry professionals in damage prevention. They have many years’ experience in their field and can give you valuable tips on how you can work more efficiently and effectively when excavating on a project. Speakers’ Corner offers attendees damage prevention training at no cost.

Home Show and Canada Blooms

One of the key objectives of ORCGA in 2016 is to engage the public and make sure that anyone in society, who digs in the soil, knows they must call Ontario One Call before they dig. This is the law and it applies to everyone. For the first time, ORCGA will be present at The National Home Show with a combined 10 x 20 ft. booth, sponsored by Ontario One Call and ORCGA. The message for the show will be Call Before You Dig and Dig Safely.

At the Landscape Ontario Contractor area inside Canada Blooms, ORCGA will have another exhibit that advertises to the public and industry. It will highlight potential severe damages if anyone digs and strikes a hydro, gas utility line, etc. Our message will be that it is the law and that the home owners and contractors must call Ontario One Call for utility locates before digging.

The public must also know that when they call Ontario One Call, the locate markings will only be provided from the street to where the service enters the residential house. Any side yard or backyard private gas, cable, telephone or hydro utility requires the home owner’s to call a private locate company for these utility locations.

The provincial government has mandated in the Horticultural Technician Apprenticeship Program curriculum that underground safety and damage prevention must be covered in detail. Young apprentices must understand that any time they are doing any excavation work, it is the law that they call for locates. Colleges offering the in-school component of apprenticeship training in horticulture this winter are Mohawk College, Fanshawe College, Humber College and University of Guelph, Kemptville.

These horticultural events are all happening during the first quarter of 2016. Please note the Congress 2016 event and regardless of the day you attend, a Speakers’ Corner talk will only take 20-25 minutes of you time. If you attend Canada Blooms in March, please stop at one of our ORCGA booths to say hello. If you are an employee and considering Horticultural Technician Apprenticeship Training, then you should register immediately at a Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities office and get yourself registered into this government program, and then call the college of your choice to obtain a seat for your Level 1 classes, which start in January.

Direct any questions, comments or questions to Terry Murphy at tvmurphy@ca.inter,net .