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Locate Volume

Dear Members, Excavators, and Stakeholders,

As we all are experiencing, the volume of locate requests has reached unprecedented levels in the past number of weeks. We want to share some information to help you understand some of the province-wide trends.

Earlier this year, Ontario One Call shared the results of our excavator survey. It indicated that around half of excavators expected work volumes to be above pre-pandemic levels, with around half saying it would be about the same as pre-pandemic times. Almost no excavators said that volumes would remain as low as 2020.

As April 2020 volumes were impacted by the first Covid-19 lockdown, it’s best to compare April 2021 with April 2019. The results are quite striking – Volumes are up almost 50%.

April Volumes – First three weeks of the month


Among different categories of locates, homeowner requests have almost tripled. At the same time, there are also significant increases in all other types of excavation work. The recent provincial announcement restricting certain types of construction has not affected these trends.

For our part, Ontario One Call is “business as usual”. Service levels for answering phone calls and turning around suspended web requests have been impacted, but we continue to process all request types. Emergency calls are always our priority and continue to be answered by the first available agent.

Guidance for Members (Owners of Infrastructure):

  • Expect high volumes to continue for the foreseeable future, and Members should resource appropriately. Ontario One Call’s request volumes tend to peak in early May and then remain fairly consistent through June
  • Consider extending locate validity periods to 60 days, as most members have done. This will reduce the need for a relocate/remark. Contact for more information
  • Ensure that the work identified by the provincial government as essential construction projects are handled as a priority
  • Offer dedicated locator services to excavators doing major projects
  • Continue to communicate and work with excavators to meet their requirements

Guidance for Excavators:

  • Recognize that the historic volumes will impact member and LSP locate delivery, and continue to work with them to prioritize completion of work
  • Only submit requests for work that will begin within the next 30 days and is work that is identified by the provincial government as an essential construction project.  If your work is not starting within 30 days, please renegotiate your requests with members
  • Ensure that your identified excavation areas are only those areas where you plan to dig. Using the web portal allows you to map out your dig location accurately

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