Service Fees Act — Questions and answers

1. What is the Service Fees Act?
  • In 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the Service Fees Act (SFA) to replace the User Fees Act.
  • All government departments and agencies that charge fees for services are impacted by this legislation.
  • The SFA increases transparency, accountability and predictability regarding service fees. The SFA will help ensure that fees charged to Canadians by federal departments and agencies remain current and better reflect the costs of delivering related services.
2. What is changing for radio and spectrum licensees and those seeking equipment certification services?
  • Starting in 2019-2020, fees will be adjusted by the All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by Statistics Canada for all radio and spectrum licensees and users of the equipment certification process.
  • Service standards are now in place for all fee-paying services; existing service standards have not been altered.
  • The SFA introduces remissions, which will be available according to departmental policies when service standards are not met. See question 13 for more information on remissions.
3. By how much can I expect my fees to increase?
  • The rate is set one year in advance and is based on the April to April All-items CPI. For example, for 2019-2020 the rate is based on the April 2017 to April 2018 CPI. Refer to Statistics Canada's website for more information.
  • The first fee increase will be 2.2% effective March 15, 2020, for all licences and services provided.
4. Will my fees increase every year?
  • In the absence of an alternate periodic adjustment to fees, the previous year's fee is increased by the CPI each year. See question 11 for rounding principles.
  • For example:
    2019/2020 2020/2021 2021/2022
    $232.00 $232.00+CPI = $237.20 $237.20 + CPI = new fee
  • See question 14 for information on how ISED may implement fee increases in the future.
5. I may not be prepared for an increase. Is there any way to delay payment?
  • No. The SFA is a law and must be implemented accordingly.
  • Although our fees have not changed for many years, they were and are subject to change.
  • Radio and spectrum licence renewal invoices must be paid in full before licence expiry (March 31) in order for you to be authorized to operate your radio(s). (Radiocommunication Regulations, subsection 56(1)).
6. Will I see the increase as a separate line item on my invoice?
  • No. Licence fee totals will be based on the adjusted fee rates and therefore the cost of living increase will not be shown as a separate line item on invoices.
  • The new, increased fee rates will be posted on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website following the release of the CPI.
7. What happens if I receive an invoice in March 2020 but my in-service date is in April 2020 or later?
  • Your fee will be based on the in-service date, not the date of your transaction with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). In this case, your fee will be the fee set for April 2020.
8. What happens if I have a short-term authorization that starts in February 2020 and ends on March 31, 2020?
  • For short-term authorizations, your fee will be based on the fees applicable on the in-service date of the licence. In this case, your fee will be based on the monthly fees set out as of February 2020, which were not subject to the CPI increase set out in the fees as of March 15, 2020.
9. Will ISED update official publications to reflect SFA changes?
  • Yes. ISED will update several official publications over the coming months to reflect changes to fees and fee calculations due to the SFA.
10. Will ISED update the Radiocommunication Regulations yearly to reflect the new fees?
  • No. The Radiocommunication Regulations fee tables will remain intact as they will serve as a baseline for fees moving forward.
  • ISED will post new fee tables on a yearly basis, on our website.
  • For clarity and accuracy, ISED documentation, including official publications, will be updated to refer to the new fee tables posted on the Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website.
11. I just looked at the fee tables ISED posted on the website, and the numbers are not exactly 2.2% higher than what is listed in the Radiocommunication Regulations. Are you rounding the numbers?
  • Yes. ISED is rounding the fee rates up, to the nearest $0.10.
  • Example of a radio licence for a fixed station in the land mobile service in a metropolitan area:
    $232 (radio licence fee) x 1.022 (CPI) = $237.104
    $237.104 is rounded to $237.20
  • Spectrum licence fees are always rounded up to the nearest dollar after they are calculated.
12. Were any new service standards added or changed?
  • Service standards were added for radio and spectrum licensed mobile satellite stations and first-come, first-served spectrum licences. For more information, refer to the Spectrum Management Service Standards website.
13. What is a remission?
  • As per the SFA, when a service standard is not met, departments will issue remissions, that is, return a portion of the fee associated with the transaction.
  • According to the SFA, remission policies become effective once additional guidance is provided in the form of a directive. Therefore, ISED's remission policies are currently under development.
  • ISED's remission policies will determine under what circumstances remissions will be issued.
  • Remissions will be provided to those entitled by July 1st of the following fiscal year.
14. Will ISED consider an alternative to yearly CPI-based fee increases?
  • ISED is permitted to replace the yearly fee increase set out in the SFA only after consulting with stakeholders and amending the Radiocommunication Regulations.
  • ISED will be providing an opportunity to comment on an alternative to yearly CPI-based increases.
  • Until the Radiocommunication Regulations can be amended, the yearly CPI increase will apply.
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