ARCHIVED - Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2002-12

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Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2002-12

Ottawa, 26 September 2002

Application for costs by Action Réseau Consommateur, the Consumers' Association of Canada, the Fédération des associations coopératives d'économie familiale du Québec, and the National Anti-Poverty Organization - Public Notice CRTC 2001-36

Reference: 8678-C12-10/01 and 4754-200


By letter dated 7 January 2002, Action Réseau Consommateur, the Consumers' Association of Canada, the Fédération des associations coopératives d'économie familiale du Québec, and the National Anti-Poverty Organization (ARC et al.) applied for costs with respect to their participation in the proceeding initiated by Implementation of price cap regulation for Québec-Téléphone and Télébec, Public Notice CRTC 2001-36, 13 March 2001 (Public Notice 2001-36 proceeding).


As part of its application, ARC et al. also requested that the Commission immediately fix the costs incurred for translation and for obtaining a copy of the transcripts.

Positions of the parties


ARC et al. submitted that they had met the criteria for an award of costs set out in section 44 of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules) and New procedure for Telecom Costs Awards, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-11, 15 May 1998.


With respect to the request that the Commission immediately fix its translation and transcript costs, ARC et al. submitted they were entitled to them in view of the relatively long period of time required to complete the costs award and taxation process, and the financial pressures experienced by non-profit organizations with limited resources when participating in proceedings of this size. ARC et al. stated, however, that the costs award and taxation process for costs other than those related to translation and transcripts should follow their normal course.


On 9 January 2002, ARC et al. submitted supporting documentation relating to these expenses. ARC et al. claimed an amount of $4,653.53 for the translation and $1,082.31 for the transcriptions.


ARC et al. indicated that it left it to the Commission's discretion to designate the parties responsible for payment of costs as well as the allocation of costs between the companies involved in the proceeding. ARC et al. noted, however, that in the past the Commission has apportioned the costs payable by each company involved in the proceeding in proportion to their telecommunications operating revenue, as reported in their most recent audited financial statements.


By letter dated 15 January 2002, TELUS Communications (Québec) Inc. (TELUS Québec), formerly Québec-Téléphone, stated that, while it recognized the importance of ARC et al.'s participation in the Public Notice 2001-36 proceeding, it nevertheless considered that the expenses claimed lacked sufficient detail to allow these to be fixed immediately.


In TELUS Québec's view, the transcript-related expenses were unnecessary since they are available at no cost on the Commission's Web site a few days following the conclusion of public hearings. While TELUS Québec agreed that these documents were fundamentally important when drawing up a final argument or a reply, it noted that final arguments had only been filed on 28 November 2001, 13 days after the hearing.


With respect to translation expenses, TELUS Québec submitted that the details provided in the invoices were insufficient to verify their relevance. In this regard, TELUS Québec further requested that ARC et al. provide reasons to justify its need for translation services. In closing, TELUS Québec reserved the right to contest the request once the supporting documents are received.


By letter dated 17 January 2002, Société en commandite Télébec (Télébec) stated that, even if it considered that ARC et al. were entitled to the costs claimed in its application, it nevertheless believed that ARC et al. should provide further justification for the need to incur the expenses claimed. Like TELUS Québec, Télébec reserved the right to comment on the relevance of the costs claimed until sufficient justification is provided.

Reply comments


In their reply comments of 23 January 2002, ARC et al. noted that TELUS Québec and Télébec did not oppose their application for costs, but rather, questioned whether the translation and transcript expenses were justified.


ARC et al. maintained that the transcripts were useful not only in the preparation of final oral arguments, but also when preparing for additional cross-examination or to verify certain facts or data presented during a hearing.


With respect to translation, ARC et al. argued that they have the right to work with documents written in French, their language of communication. ARC et al. further noted that the residents served by TELUS Québec and Télébec were predominantly Francophones. ARC et al. also argued that the documents were translated with a view to preparing and presenting their evidence and argument in French. In addition, John Todd's testimony was translated so that ARC et al. could review it and refer to it in French and also distribute it to their French-speaking members. ARC et al. noted that some of Télébec's witnesses had referred to this French version during the hearing. In closing, they stated that the translation had been very useful and had lightened their workload on a file that was, in their view, already complex and technical.


By letter dated 29 January 2002, TELUS Québec reiterated its position with respect to the need to receive further details from ARC et al. to justify the merits of their request. TELUS Québec further stated that, under the circumstances, the distinction between useful and necessary had to be made. TELUS Québec stated that, however, it would refer to the Commission's judgement on this matter.

Commission determination


The Commission finds that ARC et al. acted on behalf of residential subscribers, a category of subscribers with an undeniable interest in the outcome of the Public Notice 2001-36 proceeding. The Commission notes that ARC et al. was the only intervenor that actively participated in all phases of the proceeding. The Commission considers that ARC et al.'s participation served to bring to the Commission's attention the perspective of residential subscribers living in the areas served by TELUS Québec and Télébec.


The Commission also finds that ARC et al. participated in the proceeding in a responsible manner and contributed to a better understanding of issues raised in Public Notice 2001-36.


With respect to the issue of the appropriate respondents, the Commission notes that it has generally determined that the appropriate respondents to an award of costs are the parties who are affected by the issues and have participated actively in the proceeding. Accordingly, the Commission finds that the appropriate respondents to ARC et al.'s application for costs are TELUS Québec and Télébec.


The Commission is of the view that, under the circumstances, it is appropriate to apportion costs among the respondents in proportion to their operating revenues from telecommunications activities, as stated in their most recent audited financial statements, except for the costs incurred in relation to the discussion on the Return on Equity (ROE) for the Utility segment. The Commission considers that TELUS Québec should be solely responsible for these costs because Télébec did not dispute the percentage proposed in Public Notice 2001-36 and, consequently, did not cause additional costs for ARC et al. in this regard.


With respect to the request to fix costs for transcripts, the Commission shares the view of ARC et al. that transcripts are useful not only for preparing the reply and final argument, but also to prepare for additional cross-examination and to verify certain facts or data presented during a hearing. Given that the hearing was of short duration, the tight deadlines for preparing cross-examinations and the fact that transcripts had to be ordered at the start of the hearing, the Commission considers that these expenses are justified and that it is appropriate to fix the costs for transcripts.


With respect to the costs for translation, the Commission considers that the need for ARC et al. to work in French is justifiable. The Commission also notes that members of the ARC et al.'s team, namely Mr. Todd and Dr. Booth are unilingual Anglophones. The Commission finds, however, that ARC et al. has provided insufficient information to justify fixing these costs at this time. The Commission denies the request by ARC et al. to immediately fix the costs for translation. The taxing officer will assess the justification for costs at the taxation phase having particular regard to the nature of the documents including the document title and its content that were translated as well as the date of translation.

Directions as to costs


The Commission approves ARC et al.'s application for costs.


The Commission directs that the costs relating to the discussion on the ROE shall be paid entirely by TELUS Québec.


With respect to costs other than those relating to the discussion on the ROE, the Commission directs that the award of costs be paid by the named respondents in the following proportions:



TELUS Québec



In addition, the Commission immediately fixes the costs incurred for transcripts at $1,082.31. Given that 65 out of 641 pages of the transcripts dealt within the ROE issue, TELUS Québec will therefore be responsible for 10% of the total amount which amounts to $108.23. The balance of the total amount for transcripts shall be paid by the name respondent in the proportions stated above.


The costs awarded herein shall be paid immediately by the named respondents.


The costs for translation and other costs awarded herein shall be subject to taxation in accordance with the Rules and shall be taxed by Natalie Turmel.


ARC et al. shall, within 30 days of the issuance of this order, submit a Bill of Costs and an affidavit of disbursements directly to the taxing officer, serving a copy on the respondents for costs. ARC et al. shall provide the information requested in paragraph 20 of this order and clearly identify costs relating to the discussion on the ROE.


The respondents for costs in this matter may, within two weeks of receipt of those documents, file comments directly with the taxing officer in response to the claim for costs, serving a copy on ARC et al.


ARC et al. may, within two weeks of receipt of any comments submitted by the respondents for costs, file a reply to such comments, serving a copy on the respondents.


All documents to be filed or served by a specific date must actually be received, and not merely sent by that date.

Secretary General

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Date Modified: 2002-09-26

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