Hydroexcavator Operators in Greater Toronto Area Develop Alliance for Industry

The Hydrovac Alliance of Ontario (HVAO), formed in July 2014, currently has 20 members and perhaps is the first organization of its kind in North America.
Hydroexcavator Operators in Greater Toronto Area Develop Alliance for Industry
“[Hydroexcavation] is a rapidly growing industry, and we do need to work on best practices and safety standards," says Ontario Excavac CEO and HVAO Chairman Barry Wood.

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Hydroexcavation has grown considerably in the Greater Toronto Area, but the quality and skills of those services worry Ontario Excavac CEO Barry Wood.

“There are a lot of new entrants in the industry of late, but the quality of service is pretty uneven,” he says.

In an effort to even out the quality of service and skills, and to gain a voice in shaping government policy, Wood and owners of several other hydroexcavation companies serving the area created the Hydrovac Alliance of Ontario (HVAO), incorporated as a not-for-profit entity in July 2014.

Wood serves as chairman of the nine-person executive committee.

The group has 20 members including Badger Daylighting, Ontario Excavac, PGC Services (part of Pell Contracting), Advertex Utility Solutions, Cathodic Protection Systems, Spring Grove Hydrovac, Super Sucker Hydro Vac Services and Weber Contracting.

Associate members include Sewer Equipment of Canada, Joe Johnson Equipment, Transway Systems and Transpower.

“We probably represent in excess of half the hydrovac trucks in Ontario,” Wood says. “We probably have about 450 trucks in our group right now.”

The primary focus of the group is to provide information and education to various government ministries about the industry. The group formed just as the Province of Ontario was proposing changes to the Highway Traffic Act.

“If those changes to the Highway Traffic Act went through, it would be very detrimental to the industry,” Wood says. “We need to make some changes on things like weight restrictions and configurations. We need to make allowances for how the industry has evolved.”

The Earnscliffe Group, a strategic consulting group, has been hired to lead HVAO because of its contacts within the government agencies. Wood is not aware of any other hydroexcavation alliance anywhere in North America.

“We’re hoping it’s going to evolve into an association after we get past this, and we want people to rally around the alliance,” Wood says. “It’s a rapidly growing industry, and we do need to work on best practices and safety standards. We have to promote those things better than what’s gone on.”

Be sure to read more about Ontario Excavac in the March/April issue of Dig Different.



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