WHEREAS TELUS Communications Inc. is a member of Alberta One-Call; and
WHEREAS as a member of Alberta One-Call certain responsibilities are required in order to notify ground disturbers of potential conflicts which may occur with a planned ground disturbance; and
WHEREAS Alberta’s municipal districts and counties frequently undertake construction projects that require pipeline and underground utility location by Alberta One-Call; and
WHEREAS the construction season in Alberta is short and prompt location of underground utilities are essential to have projects started and completed safely, on time and on budget; and
WHEREAS TELUS Communications Inc. has frequently not been able to locate their utility in a timely manner after a request to Alberta One-Call has been made;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta and Alberta One-Call to use all means available to ensure TELUS Communications Inc. locate its underground utilities within the two day time parameters established by Alberta One-Call.
Upon request by a client, the subscribers to Alberta One-Call undertake to locate all lines within two working days. With increasing regularity, TELUS Communications Inc. have not been located within this timeframe, and in some instances seek to replace an onsite inspection of the site with telephone calls to the person or agency requesting making the One-Call request.
Projects and staff have been unnecessarily delayed by the lack of utility location by TELUS Communications Inc.
Alberta One-Call indicates that members will provide locates within the two full working days advance notice period and as a minimum members are expected to contact the ground disturber within two full working days and either notify them that there is no conflict or make arrangements for a mutually acceptable time to meet on site to identify and mark the location of buried utilities.
A resolution similar to this was passed by the AAMDC in 2005 however the government response was unacceptable and the issue continues to be of concern.
20-05F: TELUS Communications Line Locating
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the provincial government and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to use all means available to ensure TELUS Communications Inc. locates its underground utilities within the two-day time parameters established by Alberta One-Call.
DEVELOPMENTS (as of last review of this resolution): The focus of Alberta One-Call Corporation is to prevent damage to buried facilities through education, advocacy and public awareness. The industry expectation regarding locating is within two business days. This parameter is not formalized by any body, the CRTC, Alberta One Call or otherwise. As such, the CRTC has ruled that there are no enforceable time lines in which a telephone or cable system operator must respond to locate requests. In discussion with Alberta One-Call, it was determined that at the time this resolution was put forward, a number of factors came together to create a severe shortage in either company-provided or contracted out staff. Unprecedented growth, surging fuel prices and the beginnings of the job boom, resulted in many urban fringe areas suffering reduced service especially for residential requests. Since that time, key utility providers came together to established new guidelines and contracts that mitigate these situations. They acknowledge that they are ultimately responsible for the locate process. Alberta One-Call encourages those experiencing delays to contact them for assistance as they are best positioned to deal with the utility provider. Recently, Wheatland County has encountered issues regarding telecommunication and one-call companies. The CRTC judged in favour of the telecommunications company, but Wheatland County has been granted leave to appeal to the courts. In question is the right of the CRTC to preside over municipal right-of-ways and locate companies when they are working with telecommunications companies. While this issue and the resolution are not directly related, the outcome may have an effect on the authority of one-call companies and a municipality’s right to demand their proper use.
Service Alberta: Service Alberta is unable to provide assistance to the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties with this resolution. This infrastructure is owned by private companies and, although they are regulated, the regulation is managed by the federal government through its agency, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Further information can be found on the CRTC website at www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/home-accueil.htm, or by contacting the CRTC at 1-877-249-2782.
The Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ACGA) is currently leading advocacy efforts at the provincial level to have legislation developed requiring all owners of buried infrastructure to register their infrastructure networks with Alberta One-Call and fulfill locate requests within a legislated time frame. The ACGA has indicated that the Government of Alberta is supportive of working with them and other stakeholders, including the AAMDC in developing legislation.
Federal Bill S-229, An Act respecting underground infrastructure safety, was introduced in the Senate in February 2017. Bill S-229 would require the following:
While Bill S-229 only applies to federally regulated infrastructure, if it is enacted, similar provincial legislation is likely to follow in Alberta and elsewhere.
While this legislation, if developed, may cause some municipalities challenges as buried infrastructure owners, it will solve the issue of TELUS not responding to locate requests within a reasonable time frame. As such, this resolution is deemed a status of Accepted in Principle based on the Government of Alberta’s support and progress being made federally through Bill S-229, and will be monitored as the process proceeds.