Determination of costs award with respect to the participation of l’Union des consommateurs in the proceeding initiated by Rogers Communications Partnership’s request for clarification of Telecom Regulatory Policy 2013-271
By letter dated 21 April 2015, l’Union des consommateurs (l’Union) applied for costs with respect to its participation in the proceeding initiated by Rogers Communications Partnership’s (RCP) application seeking clarification of Telecom Regulatory Policy 2013-271 (the proceeding).
The Commission did not receive any interventions in response to the application for costs.
L’Union submitted that it had met the criteria for an award of costs set out in section 68 of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure) because it represented a group or class of subscribers that had an interest in the outcome of the proceeding, it had assisted the Commission in developing a better understanding of the matters that were considered, and it had participated in a responsible way.
L’Union requested that the Commission fix its costs at $1,740, consisting of $940 in internal analyst fees and $800 in internal legal fees. L’Union filed a bill of costs with its application.
L’Union made no submission as to the appropriate parties to be required to pay any costs awarded by the Commission (the costs respondents).
Commission’s analysis and determinations
6. The criteria for an award of costs are set out in section 68 of the Rules of Procedure, which reads as follows:
68. The Commission must determine whether to award final costs and the maximum percentage of costs that is to be awarded on the basis of the following criteria:
(a) whether the applicant had, or was the representative of a group or a class of subscribers that had, an interest in the outcome of the proceeding;
(b) the extent to which the applicant assisted the Commission in developing a better understanding of the matters that were considered; and
(c) whether the applicant participated in the proceeding in a responsible way.
L’Union has satisfied these criteria through its participation in the proceeding. In particular, l’Union provided helpful information and arguments describing the functional equivalence of disconnections and carrier-initiated suspensions that occur as part of the process of disconnecting a customer’s wireless service, a corollary to which is the application of the Wireless Code’s notification requirements in the latter scenario. L’Union’s submissions persuasively defended the interpretation of the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services on this matter. L’Union thus helped the Commission in developing a better understanding of the matters that were considered in the proceeding.
The rates claimed in respect of analyst and legal fees are in accordance with the rates established in the Commission’s Guidelines for the Assessment of Costs, as set out in Telecom Regulatory Policy 2010-963. The Commission finds that the total amount claimed by l’Union was necessarily and reasonably incurred and should be allowed.
This is an appropriate case in which to fix the costs and dispense with taxation, in accordance with the streamlined procedure set out in Telecom Public Notice 2002-5.
The Commission has generally determined that the appropriate costs respondents to an award of costs are the parties that have a significant interest in the outcome of the proceeding in question and have participated actively in that proceeding. The following parties to the proceeding had a significant interest in the outcome of the proceeding and participated actively throughout the proceeding: Bell Mobility Inc.; Bragg Communications Incorporated, operating as Eastlink; RCP; and TELUS Communications Company (TCC).
However, in Telecom Order 2015-160, the Commission recognized the administrative burden that small costs awards impose on applicants and on costs respondents, and determined that parties whose payment would be less than $1,000 should not be costs respondents. L’Union’s claim was for $1,740, and RCP’s participation in the proceeding was the most extensive given its initiation of the proceeding, elaborate submissions, and reply comments. Accordingly, the Commission finds that the appropriate costs respondent is RCP.
Directions regarding costs
The Commission approves the application by l’Union for costs with respect to its participation in the proceeding.
Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission fixes the costs to be paid to l’Union at $1,740.
The Commission directs that the award of costs to l’Union be paid forthwith by RCP.
Determination of costs award with respect to the participation of the Ontario Video Relay Service Committee in the proceeding initiated by Telecom Notice of Consultation 2014-188, Telecom Order CRTC 2015-160, 23 April 2015
Revision of CRTC costs award practices and procedures, Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-963, 23 December 2010
New procedure for Telecom costs awards, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2002-5, 7 November 2002