ARCHIVED -  Telecom Costs Order CRTC 98-18

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Telecom Costs Order

Ottawa, 9 October 1998
Telecom Costs Order CRTC 98-18
In re: Telesat Canada - Application to Review and Vary Telecom Decision CRTC 97-17
Reference: 8662-T3-01/98
Application for Costs by Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. (Cancom).
1.In the context of its comments on the above-referenced application, Cancom submitted that it should be awarded costs for its participation in this proceeding. Cancom argued that it has satisfied the Commission's usual three part test for costs in that it (a) has an interest in the outcome of the proceeding, (b) has participated in a responsible manner, and (c) has contributed to a better understanding of the issues by the Commission.
2.While Cancom acknowledged that the Commission does not typically award costs to commercial entities since they already have an incentive to participate, it submitted that an exception should be made in this case. Cancom noted that Telesat's application to review and vary Telecom Decision 97-17 was brought after interested parties had already expended considerable time and effort in the context of the rate review proceeding. Cancom submitted that Telesat's application seeks to re-open that proceeding on the basis of arguments which could have been made in the earlier proceeding. Cancom submitted that Telesat's application is an abuse of the Commission's process and that, in the circumstances, Telesat should be required to bear the costs of Cancom's participation.
3.In its reply comments, Telesat noted that the Canadian Satellite Users' Association (CSUA), of which Cancom is a member, also participated in this proceeding. Telesat submitted that Cancom's decision to participate in the review and vary proceeding in parallel with CSUA was a business decision based on an assessment of the cost of participating versus the cost of not participating, and does not merit reimbursement.
4.As noted by Cancom, the Commission's practice in past proceedings has generally been not to award costs to commercial entities. The Commission has denied such applications on the basis that, by virtue of their participation in the industry, these parties already have a sufficient incentive to participate in the proceeding. The fundamental premise underlying these decisions is that costs should only be awarded where they are necessary to ensure the participation of an intervener who would not otherwise be able to participate.
5.The Commission is of the view that Cancom had a sufficient incentive to participate on its own in this proceeding, and that an award of costs was not necessary to ensure its participation. The Commission notes that Cancom has participated in past Telesat proceedings on a regular basis.
6.In this proceeding, Cancom characterized Telesat's application as an abuse of process, and requested that it be dismissed on a summary basis. However, the Commission implemented a process to consider the application. While in Telesat Canada - Application to Review and Vary Telecom Decision CRTC 97-17, Telecom Decision CRTC 98-16, 25 September 1998, the Commission ultimately concluded that Telesat's application should be denied, it did not conclude that the application was frivolous or vexatious. In these circumstances, the Commission is of the view that an award of costs is neither necessary nor appropriate. The Commission considers that an exception to the Commission's general policy regarding applications for costs by commercial entities which already have a sufficient incentive to participate in a proceeding is not warranted in this case.
7.In view of the above, Cancom's application for an award of costs in respect of this proceeding is denied.
Secretary General
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