ARCHIVED - Telecom Order CRTC 2010-968
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Route reference: Telecom Notice of Consultation 2009-716
Ottawa, 23 December 2010
Determination of costs award with respect to the participation of l’Union des consommateurs in the Telecom Notice of Consultation 2009-716 proceeding
File numbers: 8657-C12-200915770, 8657-B55-200913138, and 4754-376
1. By letter dated 9 March 2010, l’Union des consommateurs (l’Union) applied for costs with respect to its participation in the proceeding initiated by Telecom Notice of Consultation 2009-716 (the proceeding).
2. On 17 March 2010, Barrett Xplore Inc., Bell Aliant Regional Communications, Limited Partnership (Bell Aliant), Bell Canada, Cogeco Cable Inc., Northwestel Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel), Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw), Télébec, Limited Partnership, and TELUS Communications Company (TCC) (collectively, the companies) filed comments in response to l’Union’s application.
3. L’Union submitted that it had met the criteria for an award of costs set out in subsection 44(1) of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure (the Rules) because it represented a group of subscribers that had an interest in the outcome of the proceeding, it had participated responsibly, and it had contributed to a better understanding of the issues by the Commission through its participation in the proceeding.
4. L’Union requested that the Commission fix its costs at $10,400, consisting entirely of legal fees. L’Union claimed $7,200 in legal fees for Anthony Hémond at a rate of $600 per day, and $3,200 in legal fees for Marcel Boucher at a rate of $800 per day. L’Union filed a bill of costs with its application.
5. L’Union made no submission as to the appropriate costs respondents.
6. In response to the application, the companies submitted that they did not object to l’Union’s entitlement to costs or to the amount claimed, and that costs should be allocated among the cost respondents in proportion to their respective telecommunications operating revenues (TORs).
Commission’s analysis and determinations
7. The Commission finds that l’Union has satisfied the criteria for an award of costs set out in subsection 44(1) of the Rules. Specifically, the Commission finds that l’Union represented a group or class of subscribers that had an interest in the outcome of the proceeding, it participated responsibly, and it contributed to a better understanding of the issues by the Commission. Accordingly, the Commission finds that the applicant meets the criteria for an award of costs under subsection 44(1) of the Rules.
8. The Commission notes that the rates claimed in respect of legal fees are in accordance with the rates set out in the Commission’s Legal Directorate’s Guidelines for the Taxation of Costs, revised as of 24 April 2007. The Commission also finds that the total amount claimed by l’Union was necessarily and reasonably incurred and should be allowed.
9. The Commission considers that 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.
10. The Commission notes that it has generally determined that the appropriate respondents to an award of costs are the parties who had a significant interest in the outcome of the proceeding in question and participated actively in that proceeding. The Commission notes, in this regard, that the following parties actively participated in the proceeding and had a significant interest in its outcome: the companies, MTS Allstream Inc., Open Source Solutions, and TekSavvy Solutions Inc. However, the Commission notes that the proceeding was initiated by a Part VII application filed jointly by the companies and considers it appropriate to limit the respondents to the companies.
11. The Commission further notes that in allocating costs among respondents, it has also been sensitive to the fact that if too large a number of respondents are named, the applicant may have to collect small amounts from many respondents, resulting in a significant administrative burden to the applicant. In light of the above, and given that l’Union would be required to collect small amounts from certain costs respondents if all potential respondents were retained, the Commission considers that it is appropriate, in the present circumstances, to further limit the respondents to Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, RCI, SaskTel, Shaw, and TCC.
12. The Commission notes that it has, in previous decisions, allocated the responsibility for the payment of costs among respondents on the basis of the respondents’ TORs, as an indicator of the relative size and interest of the parties involved in the proceeding. The Commission considers that, in the present circumstances, it is appropriate to apportion the costs among the respondents in proportion to their TORs, as reported in their most recent audited financial statements. Accordingly, the Commission finds that the responsibility for the payment of costs should be allocated as follows:
Directions as to costs
13. The Commission approves the application by l’Union for costs with respect to its participation in the proceeding.
14. Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the Telecommunications Act, the Commission fixes the costs to be paid to l’Union at $10,400.
15. The Commission directs that the award of costs to l’Union be paid forthwith by Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, RCI, SaskTel, Shaw, and TCC according to the proportions set out in paragraph 12.
- Call for comments – Review of CRTC costs award practices and procedures, Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-716, 23 November 2009
- New procedure for Telecom costs awards, Telecom Public Notice CRTC 2002-5, 7 November 2002
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