January 29, 2019
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphyIf I could have all of my wishes come true for the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) for this year, I would want many things to occur for the damage prevention industry. There are some areas that need improvement and other areas that could use more help. While we await the most recent data on underground utility hits for 2018 to be published in the 2018 DIRT Report this May, I will base my wishes for 2019 on the available data from 2017.

Sector hit reductions

The province of Ontario: An overall underground utility hit reduction from 5,149 in 2017 to 4,600 in 2019 would result in a 10 per cent reduction in the total number of hits in the province. This is achievable.

Landscape profession: To have a reduction in underground utility hits from 338 in 2017 to 300 in 2019 would be great. This reduction of 11 per cent is absolutely possible.

Fence industry: An overall hit reduction of 15 per cent (from 438 in 2017, down to 375 in 2019) would be fantastic. This sector needs the most urgent attention.

Irrigation sector: To remain around the 11 hit mark for another year.

Sewer and water main excavators: Accountable for over 1,200 hits in 2017, a 12.5 per cent improvement in 2019 would lower the total number of hits for this group to 1,050.

Road builders: An improvement from 614 hits in 2017 to 550 hits in 2019 would mean a reduction of 10 per cent.

Operational considerations

The above summarizes the key industries that are tracked. Naturally, I want to see continuous improvement in all sectors and believe the reductions mentioned are reasonable projections. There are also operational issues that I would like to address. Hopefully we can work on these issues.

Staff: The current staff of the ORCGA are doing a great job, however, I wish we were able to add an event planner. This would allow the organization to focus more on customer service and on other key operational areas while continuing our good record on event planning.

Financial: If we can add another couple of gold and silver sponsors, it would really allow a great cushion for continuing the financial surplus that we been fortunate to achieve consistently over the years. Holding expenses to 2018 levels would also be an excellent achievement.

Membership: Last year, membership went from 515 members to 505. Membership is important in the year ahead. When you consider there are over 8,000 companies in the landscape sector alone that could easily be members of ORCGA, I wish for a 10 per cent increase in membership, to 550 this year. With a annual rate of $125 for a small contractor, membership is very affordable. It has always been a mystery to me why so many firms don’t support the ORCGA as a member, considering the important work the association does on behalf of all excavators.

Geographic Councils: Last year, we had record (an increase of 156 per cent) at meetings. Maintaining these numbers in 2019 would be reasonable.

Event attendance: Our annual golf tournament, Locate Rodeo, and Symposium have all been well-attended over the past few years. Maintaining the same numbers would be my wish for these events.

All excavators: Most importantly, my wish is that anyone who disturbs the soil, digs safe and calls ON1CALL prior to digging.


Preparing this article was very enlightening as it gave me a chance to look at last year (2017 data) and see where I hope we can be at the end of 2019 for various areas in our damage prevention industry. I hope these wishes can come true, as it would result in a fantastic year for the ORCGA and all those involved in the damage prevention industry.
Terry Murphy can be reached at tvmurphy@ca.inter.net.