June 2, 2023
The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) recently released its annual DIRT Report that provides statistics on the number of underground utility hits in the province, with the latest stats showing a four per cent increase from 2021 to 2022.

Over the past three years, an average of 4,700 utility hits have occurred in Ontario: 4,732 in 2020; 4,538 in 2021; 4,769 in 2022. Some of these hits are represented by the Green Industry comprised of various sectors:
GREEN INDUSTRY 2020 2021 2022
Landscaping 494 332 354
Fencing 496 413 473
Waterways 10 0 15
Irrigation 11 10 6
Agriculture 2 2 3
TOTAL 1,013 757 851
The total Green Industry hits have increased by 12 per cent over the last 12 months. Landscaping has increased 6.6 per cent and Fencing by 14.5 per cent.
NOTIFICATIONS 2020 2021 2022
TOTAL 5,746,332 6,141,712 5,948,034
The total number of notifications each year represents an underground utility line on a property that could be struck by an excavating contractor when digging. Notifications over the past three years have averaged around six million, so with the actual number of hits averaging under 5,000, that number can seem comparatively low.
HOMEOWNERS 2020 2021 2022
HITS 791 928 453
Homeowners normally account for about 18 per cent of all utility hits across the province. This is slightly more than than the Green Industry (15 per cent).
As a major stakeholder in the industry, the ORCGA encourages and educates both industry and homeowners to call Ontario One Call for locates prior to any digging via the “Dig Safe” and “Call Before You Dig” messaging and annual campaigns.

In order to improve the latest stats, industry advocate Terry Murphy suggests the following:
  • Regular advertising and promotion of the Dig Safe and Call Before You Dig messaging in industry publications, trade shows, and events by all Green Industry sectors. Each sector setting hit reduction targets and discussing hit reduction efforts at regular meetings throughout the year. Increased promotion and messaging to homeowners at events like the National Home Show and local home and garden shows. Joining the ORCGA to get the latest tools, knowledge and resources to minimize risks and improve safety performance. Implementing these efforts could help to lower the overall number of hits that is currently stuck around the 4,760 level.

For more information on the ORCGA, including events such as its annual Damage Prevention Symposium and the benefits of becoming a member, visit ORCGA.com. The full 2022 DIRT Report is available online at ORCGA.com/dirt-report.

2022 DIRT Report