FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Vancouver, BC - April 8, 2021) - A province-wide survey commissioned by BC 1 Call in February 2021 found that only three-in-10 respondents (28 per cent) correctly identified that BC 1 Call connects British Columbians with their members—organizations that own underground infrastructure across B.C.—who then send maps and information to help them dig safely. April is Safe Digging Awareness Month and historically when more people take on outdoor home improvement projects; now is an important time to remind them to contact BC 1 Call so projects can proceed safely.

“We need to raise awareness about the importance of contacting BC 1 Call before digging or breaking ground,” said Chris Hyland, BC 1 Call president & CEO. In regards to the survey findings, Hyland said, “what struck me (no pun intended) is that, while we’ve been around for almost 30 years, there’s still a large number of folks in B.C. who don’t know or actually misidentified the service we provide. If more people knew that BC 1 Call helps avoid the risk of personal injury, environmental contamination and disruption of essential services, we could help make B.C. a much safer place.”

The fact that only 28 per cent of respondents were able to identify BC 1 Call’s service correctly caused concern for Ian Turnbull, manager of damage prevention and emergency services at FortisBC. “There may be natural gas and power lines on your property, along with other underground infrastructure that delivers critical services such as telecommunications, water, and sewage,” said Turnbull. “If you dig without calling BC 1 Call and damage a natural gas line, you may cause service and traffic disruptions for you and your neighbours and be financially responsible for the damages.”

Dave Baspaly, executive director, BC Common Ground Alliance, noted that with public health orders still in place, health and safety continues to be top-of-mind – so too should personal safety when you’re working outdoors at home. “Over the past year we got really good about picking up new safety habits,” added Baspaly. “Here is another one you can adopt to keep everyone safe: request a free locate ticket with BC 1 Call before you head out to break ground and build that retaining wall, plant trees or put in a new fence this spring. Simply put: just click or call before you dig.”

BC 1 Call urges homeowners and contractors to click or call before they dig to avoid damaging underground infrastructure. Damage and service disruptions can be avoided if everyone requests a free locate ticket with BC 1 Call to determine what utility lines are in their desired dig sites.

Anyone can request a free locate request ticket online 24/7 at bc1c.ca or via phone during regular business hours at 1-800-474-6886. An online request through bc1c.ca allows anyone to input their information more quickly at a time of their convenience.

BC 1 Call currently has over 365 members that are safety-minded public and private-sector owners of underground infrastructure, including its shareholders: FortisBC, Trans Mountain, BC Hydro, TELUS, and Enbridge. Municipalities are represented on the Board of Directors by the Public Works Association of British Columbia. Together, members make this service free of charge for the public.


Background:

Opinion Survey

  • The online opinion survey was conducted among 800 adult residents of British Columbia by Research Co., from February 23 to February 25, 2021. 
  • Data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. 
  • The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

BC 1 Call

  • A locate request to BC 1 Call must be completed a minimum of three business days before the work begins, to allow members enough time to provide the necessary information to homeowners and contractors. 
  • Both BC 1 Call’s service and the information sent by members are 100 per cent free of charge.
  • When someone requests a locate ticket by clicking or calling BC 1 Call, it triggers a notification to the utility owners to share drawings and information on what’s below the surface in the described dig area.
  • Excavators are not clear to dig until all utilities they are told to expect to hear from have responded.
  • From inception through to December 31, 2020, BC 1 Call has registered about 40,000 individual homeowners who use its locate service.

Underground Infrastructure & Damage Incidents

  • According to the 2019 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, 55 per cent of all reported damage incidents in B.C. that year involved a failure to request a locate ticket with BC 1 Call. This percentage was calculated based on the total number of reported damages in B.C. and the number of damages caused by a notification issue. The data tables can be found on page 23.
  • Common home improvement projects that may cause damage to underground infrastructure:
    • Installing posts for fences, mailboxes, realtor signs, welcome signs, etc.
    • Building decks, retaining walls, patios, and installing fire pits
    • Tree planting and digging a garden
    • Anchoring playground equipment 
    • Installing in-driveway heating systems
  • Underground infrastructure includes: pipes and cables used to transport oil and gas (natural gas or propane), water and sewage, electricity, and telecommunication services across BC; all of which are integral to daily living. 
  • Some underground infrastructure may be less than a foot below the surface, depending on ground levelling work and erosion since installation. 

Safe Digging Month


For more information, or media enquiries contact:

BC 1 Call
Jess Verheyden
jess@munrothompson.com
(604) 765-9649
www.bc1c.ca

FortisBC
Diana Sorace
Corporate Communications Advisor
diana.sorace@fortisbc.com
(604) 328-0790
24-hour media line: 1-855-322-6397
www.fortisbc.com

About BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call is the link between the excavating community and the owners of underground infrastructure. By contacting BC 1 Call, private landowners and commercial excavators reduce the risk of personal injury and property damage. BC 1 Call has over 350 members across British Columbia including municipalities, communication service providers, gas and pipeline companies and irrigation and improvement districts. BC 1 Call is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and has support from the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the National Energy Board, Technical Safety BC and WorkSafe BC.

About FortisBC

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs approximately 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.2 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,260 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information visit www.fortisinc.com.

About BC Common Ground Alliance

The BC Common Ground Alliance (BCCGA) is a non-profit organization established to lead the development of consistent practices and coordination of activities to ensure the highest possible standards of worker safety, public safety and damage prevention in connection with underground infrastructure.

The BCCGA is a unique consensus-driven organization with a direct conduit to regulatory innovation. It is open to any individual or organization with an interest in safety and underground infrastructure. The BCCGA works to offer practical tools and to foster an environment in which anyone resident or doing business in British Columbia is aware of and compliant with best practices in regard to underground infrastructure or disturbance in order to ensure the safest possible environment for the citizens and workers of the province.