ARCHIVED - Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2002-4

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Telecom Costs Order CRTC 2002-4

Ottawa, 24 April 2002

Action Réseau Consommateur, the Consumers' Association of Canada, Fédération des associations coopératives d'économie familiale and the National Anti-Poverty Organization application for costs - Public Notice CRTC 2001-60

Reference: 8665-C12-14/01 and 4754-201



By letter dated 9 January 2002, Action Réseau Consommateur (ARC), the Consumers' Association of Canada, Fédération des associations coopératives d'économie familiale, and the National Anti-Poverty Organization (ARC et al.) applied for costs associated with their participation in the proceeding initiated by CRTC seeks public input on the confidentiality provisions of Canadian carriers, Public Notice CRTC 2001-60, 29 May 2001 (PN 2001-60).

Position of parties


ARC et al. submitted that they had met the criteria for an award of costs set out in section 44(1) of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules).


ARC et al. specifically noted that they were one of the few public interest intervenors in the proceeding and the only intervenors to provide a detailed analysis of the issues in this proceeding from the perspective of customers.


ARC et al. requested that their costs be fixed as part of the costs award at $6,999.82. ARC et al. provided a bill of costs with their application.


ARC et al. submitted that the appropriate respondents to this costs application are Aliant Telecom Inc., Bell Canada, Bell Mobility, Bell Nexxia, MTS Communications Inc., Northern Telephone Limited, NorTel Mobility, Northwestel Inc., Northwestel Mobility Inc., Saskatchewan Telecommunications Inc., Télébec ltée, and Télébec Mobilité (collectively the Companies) and TELUS Communications Inc. (TCI).


ARC et al. also suggested that to simplify collection of any costs award that Bell Canada be made responsible for any costs allocated to the Companies.


By letter dated 8 February 2002, the Companies filed comments in response to ARC et al.'s application. The Companies stated that they did not object to ARC et al.'s entitlement to costs or to the amount claimed. However, the Companies did object to ARC et al.'s proposals regarding respondents.


In the Companies' view, it would not be appropriate to allocate costs in this proceeding solely to the Companies and TCI. The Companies pointed out that several other telecommunications service providers have an interest in the outcome of the proceeding, and made submissions in the proceeding.


The Companies also noted that an amendment to the Commission's restrictions on the confidentiality of customer information would benefit all telecommunications common carriers. In the Companies' view, costs should be allocated to the various parties in proportion to their interest and participation in the proceeding.


The Companies also opposed ARC et al.'s suggestion that Bell Canada be made responsible for the Companies' portion of any costs award. The Companies noted that they were not aware that the recipients of costs awards had experienced unusual difficulty in collecting awards from each of the Companies. The Companies submitted that if the Commission were to make Bell Canada responsible for the collection of costs awards relating to the other corporations, then it was essential for the Commission to provide a detailed breakdown of how much of the costs award is owed by each member of the joint filing group.


By letter dated 14 February 2002, TCI filed its response to ARC et al.'s application. TCI stated that it did not object to ARC et al.'s request for costs or the amount claimed.


However, TCI did object to ARC et al.'s suggestion that the appropriate respondents to the costs application were TCI and the Companies. In TCI's view, other telecommunications service providers have an equally significant interest in the outcome of the PN 2001-60 proceeding.


In TCI's view, the costs claimed by ARC et al. should be allocated to all parties involved in the proceeding on the basis of operating revenues from telecommunications activities, consistent with established Commission precedent.


The Commission did not receive comments from any other party to the proceeding, and did not receive any reply comments from ARC et al.

Commission determinations


The Commission finds that ARC et al. meet the criteria for an award of costs under section 44(1) of the Rules.


The Commission is of the view that this is an appropriate case in which to dispense with taxation and fix the costs in accordance with the streamlined procedure set out in New procedure for telecom costs awards, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 98-11, 15 May 1998.


The Commission finds that the amount claimed by ARC et al. was reasonably and necessarily incurred and should be allowed.


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.


The Commission notes, however, that it has recognized the fact that if too large a number of respondents are named, the applicant may have to collect small amounts from many respondents.


Given the small size of the costs award in this case, the Commission finds that it would impose an unnecessary administrative burden on ARC et al. to require the collection of small amounts from the 17 telecommunications service providers who participated in the PN 2001-60 proceeding.


The Commission finds, therefore, that the appropriate respondents to ARC et al.'s costs application are the Companies and TCI.


Given the relative differences in telecommunications revenue between TCI and the Companies, the Commission finds that the responsibility for the payment of costs should be allocated as follows:

The Companies





With respect to the Companies' share, the Commission agrees with ARC et al. that collection would be simplified if Bell Canada was responsible for payment on behalf of the Companies. The Commission finds it appropriate to leave to the members of the Companies to determine among themselves the appropriate allocation of their share among themselves. The Commission considers that this would generally be the case in future proceedings as well.

Direction as to costs


The Commission approves ARC et al.'s application for costs in this proceeding. Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission fixes the costs to be paid to ARC et al. at $6,999.82.


For the reasons mentioned above, the Commission directs that the award of costs to ARC et al. be paid by TCI and Bell Canada on behalf of the Companies, according to the ratio noted in paragraph 22, forthwith.

Secretary General

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Date Modified: 2002-04-24

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