1. I understand that to be eligible to receive a costs award, an organization must be a public interest group or a consumer group representing non-commercial user interests and the public interest. What do I do if I am not certain if our organization is eligible to receive a costs award?
If you are uncertain about the eligibility of your organization to receive a costs award, please contact the Costs Officer prior to completing the costs award application forms. The Costs Officer will assess the organization's eligibility and provide a recommendation to the Fund's board of directors as to whether or not your organization is eligible. The Costs Officer will inform you of the board's decision. The board is solely responsible for and makes all decisions with respect to the Fund, including cost determinations and disbursements from the Fund.
2. My organization appears to be eligible to receive a costs award. We plan to intervene in a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission broadcasting matter under the Broadcasting Act. What do I do if I am not certain if our potential intervention is eligible for a costs award or if certain potential cost elements are eligible for reimbursement?
If your organization is eligible to receive a costs award but you are uncertain about the eligibility of your potential intervention or certain potential cost elements, please contact the Costs Officer prior to completing the costs award application forms. The Costs Officer will assess the potential intervention and cost elements with respect to their potential eligibility and provide a recommendation to the Fund's board of directors as to whether or not the proposed intervention and cost elements are potentially eligible. The Costs Officer will inform you of the board's conclusion. If the board indicates the proposed intervention and cost elements are potentially eligible for a costs award, please note that the board's conclusion does not constitute a conditional or otherwise award of costs. Your organization must still apply for a costs award in accordance with the Fund's Guidelines for the Assessment of Costs if it proceeds with an intervention. The board is solely responsible for and makes all decisions with respect to the Fund, including cost determinations and disbursements from the Fund.
3. Are the costs incurred in prior years eligible for submission?
Yes. Costs for work undertaken on or after March 26, 2012 will be eligible for submission as long as they otherwise qualify as eligible. It is not necessary that the broadcasting proceeding have started on or after March 26,2012, but that the costs were not incurred prior to that date.
4. How long will it take to hear if my costs submission will be approved?
Based on the current volume of costs applications, we anticipate being able to process your claim within two to three months. Once the claim is approved, payment will be processed immediately.
5. Can we submit an interim costs application to receive funding for costs in respect of an ongoing hearing?
Effective January 22, 2016, interim applications for costs will be accepted by the BPF. The new Form 2 must be duly completed and signed.
6. How do I become a stakeholder?
Please review the information about stakeholders here. Feel free to contact the Costs Officer to express your interest in becoming a stakeholder.
7. Can we claim the costs incurred for the preparation and submission of the claim to the BPF?
No, the costs incurred for the preparation and the submission of the claim along with the costs incurred to respond to questions from the Cost Executive Officer are not eligible.
8. Can we include more than one proceeding per claim?
No, one complete claim must be submitted for each proceeding for which you wish to claim costs.
9. Will the BPF award costs for the purpose of monitoring compliance with broadcasting regulations?
No. The BPF will not award costs incurred subsequent to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-224, Policy framework for local and community television, 15 June 2016, (CRTC 2016-224) for the purpose of monitoring compliance with broadcasting regulations. In light of the clarifications in CRTC 2016-224, the BPF understands that it is the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) intention and practice to require reporting that will permit the Commission to determine issues of compliance. CRTC 2016-224 implements a systematic and standardized assessment by the CRTC to evaluate compliance by broadcasting distribution undertaking licensees with respect to the requirements for the operation of their community channels.
10. Does the BPF provide costs support for research and the development of policy positions?
The BPF provides costs support to public interest groups and consumer groups representing non-commercial user interests and the public interest before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in broadcasting matters under the Broadcasting Act. The BPF does not resource these groups so that they can investigate issues with an eye to ultimately adopting or creating a position that may at some time become the subject of a CRTC broadcasting proceeding. To be eligible for BPF costs support, a CRTC broadcasting proceeding must exist and the costs for which support is sought must be directly related to the proceeding. If costs relate to research, the product of that research must be part of the proceeding's record. The research must be related to a specific policy position adopted in a proceeding and the policy position must be directly and clearly related to the matter at hand in the proceeding. The BPF will not fund the development of positions on issues that are the ongoing core business of the public interest and consumer groups, the financial support of which lies outside the BPF's mandate. To put it another way, the BPF does not recompense groups for the development of these core policy positions, but does recompense groups for the reasonable costs associated with the presentation of those positions in the context of a broadcasting proceeding which canvasses views on the subject matter.
11. Are costs applications available to the public?
All costs applications made on or after June 15, 2017, including supporting documents, are made available on the BPFâ€™s website after a decision has been rendered on an application. Costs applications made prior to June 15, 2017 are not available to the public. However, a high level summary of each decision since the BPFâ€™s inception is available. The summary includes the name of the applicant, the amount requested, the amount of the costs award, and the reason for any difference between the two amounts. The decisions together with the supporting applications will be posted to the website on a quarterly basis. The applications are available only in the language in which they were submitted.
12. Do I need to include my submission to the CRTC with my application for a costs award?
Yes. Effective September 1, 2017 the electronic version of your submission to the CRTC, or a link thereto, must be included with your application for a costs award. Applications will not be processed without your submission to the CRTC.
13. What Criteria describe a Public Interest Group or Consumer Group which would be eligible under the BPF guidelines?
- A Public Interest or Consumer Group represents non-commercial user interests and the public interest in proceedings before the CRTC in broadcasting matters under the Broadcasting Act;
- A Public Interest or Consumer Group is formed explicitly to benefit the public good; Public Interest and Consumer groups are non-profit groups which are focused on non-commercial ends and broad public interests;
- Public interest and Consumer groups are non-partisan;
- Public Interest and Consumer groups should reflect the public values of inclusion and diversity of Canadian society;
- The board of directors and leadership of the Public Interest and Consumer groups are Canadian;
- The head office and any branch offices of the Public Interest or Consumer group are located in Canada;
- For the most part, Public Interest and Consumer groups are intervenors and not applicants in the CRTC process;
- Public Interest and Consumer groups are often membership-based or have charitable status which differentiates them from for-profit organizations.
The final decision with respect to what constitutes a Public Interest group or Consumer group and their funding rests with the Board of Directors of the Broadcasting Participation Fund.
Other Questions will be added as recurring issues are identified.