Additional information regarding telecommunications proceeding costs

The following provides further information on areas where we commonly receive questions or encounter issues when assessing applications for costs.

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Types of costs the CRTC generally awards

Consistent with past practices, the CRTC will generally award the following costs:

Costs must be necessary and reasonably incurred

The CRTC will generally only award costs that were necessary and reasonably incurred in the circumstances of the proceeding.

For disbursements, the CRTC will generally only award reasonable disbursements necessarily incurred in connection with the applicant’s participation in the proceeding.

For fees, the CRTC will evaluate whether or not the time expended for services provided by legal counsel, an articling student, a legal assistant, an expert witness, a consultant or an analyst is excessive. The considerations that the CRTC will generally take into account include:

Rates for fees and disbursements

Please consult Appendix A: Scale of Costs in the Guidelines for the Assessment of Costs for the current allowable rates.

Process after the submission of application for costs

A submission of an application for costs does not necessarily mean costs will be awarded as requested. The CRTC will evaluate each application on its own merits. The CRTC will evaluate it against the criteria for an award of costs and make a determination on the application. Once a determination has been made with respect to a costs application, a decision will be issued.

You can monitor the record of the proceeding associated with your application, available at This is where you can find the CRTC’s determination with respect to your application, when it becomes available.

Rebate in connection with any applicable tax

In your affidavit of disbursements, and as required in the Forms, you must indicate whether or not you are entitled to a rebate in connection with the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST), a provincial sales tax (PST), a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) or any other applicable tax, the extent of the rebate and the basis of its eligibility. The CRTC will take that information into account when assessing the tax payable on the costs claimed.

The difference between fees and disbursements

Fees are billed to the applicant for the services provided by legal counsel, an articling student, a legal assistant, an expert witness, a consultant or an analyst.

Disbursements are out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred in connection with the applicant’s participation in the proceeding, which include travel, accommodation, meals, photocopying, transcripts, translation, and other reasonable expenses. In addition, disbursements incurred by volunteers and by employees of applicants are allowed.

The difference between external and in-house fees

In-house fees are fees incurred by employees of an organization and are paid a salary. External fees are fees incurred by specialists, not employed but temporarily retained by the organization, specifically for the purpose of preparing submissions in the proceeding on the organization’s behalf.

The CRTC has considered that the most efficient and effective way to determine whether legal counsel are in-house or external is based on how the claimant reports his or her employment status to any law society of which he or she is a member. Therefore, a lawyer claiming costs must attest to their status as reported to the relevant law society.

To determine if a costs applicant can claim outside or in-house analyst/consultant rates, the CRTC looks at whether the analyst/consultant is independent from the costs applicant. In assessing independence, the CRTC intends to consider the degree of control that one person or entity may have over another when determining whether outside or in-house rates are appropriate. The factors that the CRTC may consider include the following:

Individual applying for costs for participation in the proceeding on their own behalf

An applicant who is an individual who has participated in a proceeding on his or her own behalf will generally only be compensated for out-of-pocket disbursements and will generally not be compensated for time spent preparing for or appearing at a hearing.

Demonstrating that you represent a group or a class of subscribers that has an interest in the outcome of a proceeding

A costs applicant should make submissions that clearly and specifically identify and describe the group or class of subscribers it purports to represent. This description could involve identifying the specific demographic or socio-economic features of the members of the group or class of subscribers.

Describing the group or class of subscribers could also involve providing information on the region or regions of Canada in which the group or class members are located.

A costs application could also include details, if available, of the number of individuals making up the group or class of subscribers being represented.

A costs applicant should also describe how it determined that the positions it put forward in the substantive proceeding for which costs are being claimed reflected the interests of the group or class of subscribers it claims to represent.

For more information, refer to Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2016-188.

Costs in broadcasting proceedings

The CRTC does not accept applications for costs for participation in broadcasting proceedings.
For broadcasting proceedings, parties may apply for reimbursement of costs with the Broadcasting Participation Fund (BPF).
For more information on applying for reimbursement of costs for a broadcasting proceeding, please visit the BPF website or contact the BPF's Cost Officer.

Applying for costs in proceedings with a broadcasting and telecommunications element

In the case of a converged proceeding (i.e., one that involves both broadcasting and telecommunications matters), a cost applicant may apply to the CRTC for costs incurred in relation to the telecommunications portion of the proceeding only. The costs applicant must indicate in their application the percentage of costs that are associated with the telecommunications portion of the proceeding.

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