Service Fees Act — Questions and answers

1. What is the Service Fees Act?

  • The Service Fees Act (SFA) is Canadian legislation that increases transparency, accountability and predictability regarding service fees that the Government of Canada charges to Canadians.
  • The SFA helps ensure that the fees federal departments and agencies charge Canadians remain current and better reflect the costs of delivering related services.
  • The Government of Canada introduced the SFA in 2017 to replace the User Fees Act.
  • All government departments and agencies that charge fees for services (including Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)) are subject to this legislation.

2. What is changing for radio and spectrum licensees and those seeking equipment certification services?

  • Starting in 2019-2020, fees charged to radio and spectrum licensees and fees charged for equipment certification services will be adjusted based on the All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by Statistics Canada.
  • Service standards are now in place for all services for which ISED charges a fee. Existing service standards have not changed.
  • Remissions will now be available when service standards are not met. See question 12 for more information on remissions.

3. By how much can I expect my fees to increase?

  • Your fees will be adjusted by a rate that is set one year in advance and is based on Statistics Canada’s April to April All-items Consumer Price Index (CPI). For example, the rate used for the fiscal year 2019-2020 is based on the April 2017 to April 2018 CPI. Refer to Statistics Canada’s website for more information.
  • The first fee adjustment will be an increase of 2.2% effective March 31, 2020, for all licences and services provided.

4. Will my fees increase every year?

  • Yes. Each year, your new fee will be the previous year’s fee, adjusted by the CPI.
  • For example:
    Examples of fee adjustments
    Fiscal year 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
    Fee Adjustment N/A 2.2% starting March 31, 2020 2.0% starting March 31, 2021
    Fee $232.00 $232.00 + CPI = $237.10 $237.10 + CPI = $241.85

5. I may not be prepared for an increase in my fees. Is there any way to delay the increase?

  • No. The Service Fees Act is a law and we must implement it accordingly.
  • Although our fees have not changed for many years, they were and are subject to change.
  • According to the Radiocommunication Regulations (subsection 56(1)), you must pay your radio and spectrum licence renewal invoices in full before the licence expiry date (March 31) to be authorized to operate your radio(s).

6. Will I see the increase as a separate line item on my invoice?

  • No. We will calculate your licence fee totals using the adjusted fee rates and only the final fees will appear on your invoice.

7. What happens if I receive an invoice in March 2020 but my in-service date is in April 2020 (or later)?

  • Fees are based on the in-service date of a licence, not the date of a transaction with ISED. In this case, if your in-service date is in April 2020, your fees will be based on the applicable fees set out for April 2020 (which are subject to the CPI increase in effect as of March 31, 2020).

8. What happens if I have a short-term authorization that starts in February 2020 and ends on March 31, 2020?

  • Fees are based on the in-service date of a licence. In this case, the fees for your short-term authorization will be based on the applicable fees set out for February 2020 (which are not subject to the CPI increase in effect as of March 31, 2020).

9. Will ISED update other official publications to reflect the 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, we will update ISED documentation, including official publications, to refer to the new fee tables.

11. Were any new service standards added? Were any existing service standards changed?

  • As permitted under the SFA, ISED added service standards in June 2018 for new and amended radio and spectrum licensed mobile satellite stations and for new and amended first-come, first-served spectrum licences.
  • We did not make any changes to existing service standards.
  • For more information, refer to our updated Spectrum and Telecommunications Service Standards.

12. What is a remission?

  • A remission is a portion of a fee that is returned to an affected fee-payer when a service standard is not met.
  • As per the SFA, and based on Treasury Board policy effective April 1, 2020, if a department or agency does not meet a particular service standard, it will issue a remission (that is, return a portion of the fee associated with the transaction).
  • ISED’s remission policy determines under what circumstances it will issue a remission.
  • Those entitled to a remission will receive it by July 1 of the following fiscal year.

13. Did ISED consider any alternatives to the annual CPI-based fee adjustment?

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