Decision No. 157-AT-MV-2011
APPLICATION under section 32 of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10, as amended, by the City of Ottawa on behalf of OC Transpo in the case of Terrance J. Green.
 The City of Ottawa (City), on behalf of OC Transpo, requests that the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) exercise its discretion under section 32 of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) to vary Decision No. 85-AT-MV-2009 (2009 Decision) to encompass the implementation of the Next Stop Announcement System (NSAS), an automated system that announces all bus stops using Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates.
 Under section 32 of the CTA, the Agency may review, rescind or vary any decision or order made by it if, in the opinion of the Agency, since the decision or order or the hearing of the application, there has been a change in the facts or circumstances pertaining to the decision or order and, if so, whether the new facts or circumstances are sufficient to warrant a variance.
 On November 22, 2006, Terrance J. Green filed an application with the Agency pursuant to subsections 172(1) and (3) of the CTA asserting that OC Transpo operators failed to apply OC Transpo’s policies and procedures concerning calling out major stops or any other stop requested by a passenger, including those requested by Mr. Green on OC Transpo Bus No. 5 on November 16, 2006 and OC Transpo Bus No. 1 on November 23, 2006.
 In Decision No. 200-AT-MV-2007 issued on April 25, 2007 (Show Cause Decision), the Agency ordered OC Transpo to show cause why it should not be required to implement the following corrective measures:
1. To ensure the consistent application of its policy:
- Modify its Transit Operation Handbook to clearly state that major and requested stops must always be called out.
- Incorporate into its training program the situation that developed with respect to the difficulties experienced by Mr. Green, without naming him. In particular, the training should emphasize that for passengers with a visual impairment, major stops and those requested must be called out.
- Monitor compliance with OC Transpo’s policy of operators calling out major stops and those requested by passengers with visual impairments through the use of inspectors or other persons on board OC Transpo buses and follow-up on reports of infractions with the operators.
2. To ensure that announcements are clearly heard:
- Modify its policy to require that its operators consistently use, where available, a public address system to announce major and/or requested stops.
- Ensure that the GPS is always activated once installed on OC Transpo buses and that it correctly announces major stops, in combination with operator or GPS announcements of requested stops.
- Modify its policy to specifically set out the alternative means to ensure that operator announcements are clearly heard by the person in cases where a public address system or GPS is not used.
 Following parties’ submissions on the Show Cause Decision, the Agency issued Decision No. 610-AT-MV-2007 in November 2007 (November 2007 Decision), in which the Agency noted that OC Transpo did not object to implementing the proposed corrective measures. On the basis that OC Transpo would implement, within a reasonable timeframe, the plan developed for the monitoring and the compliance of calling out major and requested stops, the Agency was satisfied that OC Transpo had addressed the corrective measures set out in the Show Cause Decision. Accordingly, the Agency determined that no further action was necessary.
 The Agency then issued the 2009 Decision which varied the November 2007 Decision in light of OC Transpo’s apparent misconstruing of the corrective measures – specifically its incorrect interpretation that the Agency had ordered the installation of an automated stop announcement system – and to clarify the time frame for the implementation of the corrective measures. OC Transpo was ordered to ensure that:
- All major and requested stops are called out; and,
- All announcements of stops are made in a manner that permits them to be clearly heard.
 OC Transpo was also required to report monthly for a two-year period both on its Web site and to Mr. Green regarding its compliance level in the calling out of major and requested stops. The reports were to reflect the results of monitoring the compliance and note any new complaints OC Transpo received.
 After considering OC Transpo’s current application to vary the 2009 Decision, the Agency determined in Decision No. LET-AT-MV-172-2010 that there were new facts and circumstances pertaining to the 2009 Decision since it was issued. However, additional information was required to determine whether these new facts and circumstances would warrant a variance of the 2009 Decision.
 Following the filing of the additional information, the Agency issued Decision No. LET‑AT‑MV‑2‑2011 (January 2011 Decision) in which it stated its preliminary opinion that the NSAS, when in full operational mode, would appear to be an effective means of providing the appropriate accommodation to persons with visual impairments. However, further submissions and clarifications from OC Transpo were required.
 Is the installation by OC Transpo of the NSAS on its buses sufficient to warrant a variance of the November 2007 Decision, as varied by the 2009 Decision, and, if so, how should that Decision be varied?
 Mr. Green reiterates that OC Transpo’s application to vary the 2009 Decision should be denied as there has been no change in the circumstances. Mr. Green submits that the physical installation of NSAS technology was anticipated in previous Agency orders by reference to an automated system, “once installed,” and to a requirement for operator announcements to be the alternative in the event of a failure of an automated system. This issue of new facts and circumstances in this application has already been determined by the Agency in Decision No. LET‑AT‑MV‑172‑2010.
FACTS, EVIDENCE AND SUBMISSIONS
 OC Transpo states that the NSAS will more than satisfy the obligations imposed by the Agency in the 2009 Decision, as well as OC Transpo’s own policy, by calling out and visually displaying every next bus stop, except when there are unscheduled route deviations. OC Transpo submits that the NSAS will also ensure that onboard route/stop destination sign data is accurate on every bus in its fleet at all times.
 OC Transpo explains that the NSAS is more efficient and effective than the “manual system”, which involves the driver calling out stops. OC Transpo further explains that the manual system relies on the individual characteristics of particular operators, whereas the NSAS is uniform and predictable. OC Transpo submits that the NSAS also incorporates features that will remove barriers to access for persons who have disabilities that require visual prompts as it provides a written display of each stop. OC Transpo also points out that its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) require drivers to manually call out stops when the NSAS is not functioning.
 With respect to the number of buses which will be equipped with the NSAS, OC Transpo states that 1023 low-floor accessible buses will have been equipped with the NSAS in early 2011, and that all buses acquired in the future will be equipped with the NSAS. OC Transpo submits that the only buses that will not be equipped with the NSAS are approximately 50 of the high-floor Orion V model buses. OC Transpo adds that with the exception of ten, these buses will be disposed of in 2011. OC Transpo previously submitted that these buses are expected to be phased out by the end of 2012.
 With respect to operator training on the NSAS, OC Transpo submits that 1344 operators out of approximately 1550 active operators were trained in August and September 2010. OC Transpo adds that Transit Operations is following up with the operators who did not participate in the training.
 Mr. Green submits that OC Transpo did not provide the total number of buses in its fleet, but that information dated December 31, 2009 on OC Transpo’s Web site indicates that it has 1055 active buses in its fleet, 796 of which are low-floor buses. Mr. Green submits that this leaves 259 [high floor] buses that will be phased out over time and not be equipped with the NSAS.
 Mr. Green disagrees that the NSAS will more than satisfy the Agency’s order. Mr. Green submits that OC Transpo has not been compliant with the Agency’s original order and that even with the planned program for installation in early 2011, only 75 percent of OC Transpo’s buses will be automated. In addition, Mr. Green submits that the system will not accommodate any route variances and is vulnerable to technology breakdowns. Mr. Green also submits that “when the automated system is working properly, that is, loud enough to be heard and understood, the system is great.” However, according to Mr. Green, many of the systems are not functioning properly. Specifically, he has found that on some buses the volume of the NSAS is so low that it cannot be clearly heard. Mr. Green acknowledges that technology can help, but it should not be considered to be a complete solution to the problem of stops not being called. Mr. Green contends that OC Transpo’s request to vary the 2009 Decision leaves the operators “totally out of the equation” and that to allow a variance under the current state of the NSAS status is the same as stating that the failure to call out stops is no longer considered a barrier to the safe transportation of persons who are blind. However, Mr. Green submits that OC Transpo’s statement in which it explains that its SOP require bus drivers to manually call out stops when the NSAS is not functioning, confirms that OC Transpo accepts that the onus remains with the operator to ensure that stops are called in a manner that can be heard, even if the automated system is installed but not functioning properly. Mr. Green further submits that this onus, including ensuring that stops are called out loudly enough to be heard, must remain with the operators to ensure that the undue obstacle is removed.
 With respect to training operators on the NSAS and the calling of stops, Mr. Green submits that although submissions were made by OC Transpo in 2007 in response to the Show Cause Decision in this regard, some operators are still not calling stops on buses without the NSAS.
 On October 29, 2010, Agency staff and Mr. Green participated in a site visit to observe the operation of the NSAS on an OC Transpo bus. During the visit, OC Transpo staff explained the operation of the NSAS and a test ride was taken. During the test ride, all stops were called, except when an intentional route deviation was made. Agency staff were positioned in various areas of the bus during the test ride and found the NSAS to be audible at all times.
Monitoring and discipline
 With respect to monitoring, as set out above, OC Transpo submits that operators will be required to make voice stop announcements when assigned to non-NSAS equipped buses. Accordingly, OC Transpo confirms that notwithstanding the installation of the NSAS, it will continue its current monitoring and disciplinary measures for failure to call out stops on detours or in the event that the NSAS is non-operational.
 OC Transpo submits that its Mystery Shopper Program is its primary source of observation for monitoring compliance with the calling of stops. OC Transpo explains that Mystery Shoppers are provided with the same list of major stops that operators are provided with and instructed to call out. Mystery Shoppers travel along a route for a duration of five to twelve major stops. OC Transpo submits that the Mystery Shopper Program will be a key input in operators’ performance appraisals and aims to have every operator “shopped” at least once in a calendar year, with a number of operators getting “re-shopped” as needed.
 OC Transpo describes its progressive disciplinary process as follows:
- verbal reprimand or letter of expectation
- written reprimand
- 1-day suspension
- 3-day suspension
- 7-day suspension
 OC Transpo explains that, in some cases, the corrective measures could skip one or more of these steps.
 OC Transpo submitted a report on corrective actions taken between December 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010 which show a number of “TBD”, or “to be determined”, notations. OC Transpo clarifies that the TBD notations in its report do not indicate that no action was taken. Rather, they indicate that those particular complaints are working their way through the system. OC Transpo explains that pursuant to the collective agreement entered into by the City and the operators’ union, all operators have the right to challenge the validity of complaints of non-compliance made against them. If an individual operator files a grievance contesting the allegation of non-compliance and/or the discipline administered by OC Transpo, a final determination rests with the Arbitrator who hears the grievance. OC Transpo submits that, unfortunately, this process can cause delays in addressing individual complaints of non‑compliance.
 OC Transpo submits that it has invested significant resources in investigating and addressing allegations of non-compliance and will continue to do so in the future.
 Mr. Green submits that while OC Transpo refers to its Mystery Shopper Program, it does not comment on the complaint process or results of investigations that occurred as a result of complaints made to OC Transpo. Mr. Green points out that many incidents reported under the Mystery Shopper Program were dismissed due to lack of information, and he expresses concern about the lack of weight given in the disciplinary process to the information provided through this program. Mr. Green expresses the view that a disciplinary system that is not enforced or is ineffective is the same as having no disciplinary system.
ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
 In the 2009 Decision, the Agency determined that OC Transpo’s existing policy of calling out major and requested stops provided the appropriate accommodation for Mr. Green and for persons who require that stops be called because of their disability.
 OC Transpo has outlined its plan to install the NSAS on most of its buses in early 2011 and its intention to have its fleet fully equipped with the NSAS by the end of 2012. Although Mr. Green submits that only 75 percent of OC Transpo’s buses will be automated by March 31, 2011, he has based this figure on information found on OC Transpo’s Web site that was current as of December 2009. The more recent figures submitted by OC Transpo indicate that almost 95 percent of its buses will be automated with the NSAS in early 2011.
 As set out previously in the January 2011 Decision, the Agency is of the preliminary opinion that the NSAS, when in full operational mode, appears to be an effective means of providing the appropriate accommodation to persons with visual impairments.
 OC Transpo states that the NSAS will call out and visually display every next bus stop, except for unscheduled route deviations. This is consistent with Agency staff’s observation during the site visit that all stops were called, with the exception of an intentional route deviation, and the NSAS was audible at all times. Mr. Green also stated that “when the automated system is working properly, that is, loud enough to be heard and understood, the system is great.”
 In light of the above, the Agency is satisfied that, when it is working properly, the NSAS provides the appropriate accommodation for Mr. Green.
 Of concern, however, are situations where the NSAS is not installed, or not operational (including during unscheduled route deviations). In addition, transportation service providers will, ideally, fully and consistently meet the disability-related needs of persons with disabilities. However, OC Transpo is one of the largest public transit systems in Canada and the Agency recognizes that malfunctions with large, complex systems such as the NSAS are inevitable such that this ideal will not always be achieved.
 Nonetheless, the onus is on OC Transpo to ensure that its operators announce major and requested stops when the NSAS is not installed or not operational. In the limited situations where the NSAS is installed, but not operational for any reason, a passenger requiring an operator announced stop because of their disability will have to make that request to the operator. The Agency, based on the submissions made by OC Transpo, anticipates that will be exceptional and finds that to be a necessary, but reasonable, compromise for use of the NSAS as the primary delivery of the appropriate accommodation. However, when an operator does not follow OC Transpo’s policy (as set out in its SOP) that requires that major and requested stops are clearly called out, prompt, responsive and effective remedial action must be taken by OC Transpo management.
 In light of the above, the Agency finds that the NSAS, together with a policy requiring operators to call out major and requested stops on route deviations and when the system is not installed or not operational, provides the appropriate accommodation. The Agency again emphasizes that it is OC Transpo’s responsibility to ensure that its operators comply with OC Transpo’s policy to call out major and requested stops in such situations.
 To that end, the Agency notes, with approval, the Mystery Shopper Program which is carried out by OC Transpo as part of the monitoring compliance corrective measures ordered in the Show Cause Decision. The Agency further notes, with approval, OC Transpo’s submission that the Mystery Shopper Program will be a key input in operator’s performance appraisal. However, although the Agency strongly endorses the continuation of the Mystery Shopper Program as a key component for monitoring operator compliance with the announcing, when required, of major and requested stops, the disciplinary report filed by OC Transpo clearly indicates it is not merely the number of passenger complaints and monitored non-compliant incidents reported, or an extrapolated monthly percentage operator compliance level, which is important. Of much greater importance is how passenger complaints and non-compliant incidents identified through the Mystery Shopper Program, and other programs, are dealt with once reported.
 The Agency acknowledges that any progressive discipline must respect OC Transpo’s collective agreement with its operators. However, it is equally important that there is transparent accountability in respect of that progressive discipline. To that end, the Agency is of the opinion that information about the number of complaints and monitored non-compliant incidents together with generic results of progressive discipline taken by OC Transpo should be available to provide persons who require stops to be called due to their disability with an informed opportunity to monitor performance by OC Transpo and its operators. Accordingly, in place of the current requirement that OC Transpo publish monthly updated reports of its compliance level on the calling out of major and requested stops, there should be regular OC Transpo reports on the number of complaints filed by, or on behalf of, persons with disabilities who allege that their stop was not called; the number of non-compliant incidents identified through OC Transpo monitoring, such as through the Mystery Shopper Program; the number of those complaints that resulted in disciplinary action; and the number of complaints that are still within the disciplinary process.
 Finally, with respect to training, it is unclear from the submissions made by OC Transpo whether the training on the NSAS that is provided to operators re-enforces the OC Transpo policy to call out stops on unscheduled route deviations or when the NSAS is not available on a given bus or is not operational. Clearly that is a requirement of the policy, and NSAS training must also specifically include training for the alternative of operator announcements of stops, when required.
 The Agency finds that the appropriate accommodation for Mr. Green and other persons with similar disability-related needs is the NSAS, together with an enforced policy which requires that OC Transpo operators announce major and requested stops in a manner that is at all times audible whenever the NSAS is not installed or not operational for any reason, including during planned or unplanned route deviations.
 The Agency therefore varies the November 2007 Decision, as varied by the 2009 Decision, relating to Mr. Green’s complaint. The order for corrective measures contained therein is replaced with the following: OC Transpo shall, within 30 days from the date of this Decision
- Create and implement a policy that requires OC Transpo operators to ensure that major and requested stops are called out, in a manner that is at all times audible, when the NSAS is not installed or not operational, including during planned or unplanned route deviations.
- Modify its Transit Operation Handbook and all other relevant information sources to include the above-noted policy.
- Update all relevant training programs, including NSAS training, to include the above‑noted policy.
- Monitor compliance with the above-noted policy through the use of inspectors or other persons on board OC Transpo buses.
- Create a report which indicates on a year-to-date basis: the number of complaints filed by, or on behalf of, persons with disabilities regarding the calling of stops; the number of non-compliant incidents identified through OC Transpo monitoring; the number of complaints and incidents that resulted in disciplinary action; and the number of complaints and incidents remaining in the disciplinary process.
- Update and publish the report monthly on OC Transpo’s Web site and send a copy to Mr. Green with each update. Unless continued by OC Transpo, the monthly reporting will not be required to extend beyond December 31, 2013.
 As a preliminary matter in the Show Cause Decision, the Agency addressed a request from Mr. Green for compensation and costs. In that Decision, the Agency indicated that the awarding or denial of costs is decided on the merits of each matter before it. The Agency also set out that, as a general rule, costs are not awarded as a matter of course. The Agency’s practice has been to award these only in special or exceptional circumstances. At that time, the Agency found that Mr. Green’s case did not meet those special or exceptional circumstances and determined that costs would not be awarded.
 However, it is now 2011 and in the four years since the order in the November 2007 Decision, OC Transpo operators have often failed to call out stops in accordance with OC Transpo’s policy and OC Transpo has consistently failed to ensure that its operators respect the policy. In addition, Mr. Green has brought to the Agency’s attention that OC Transpo has not fully complied with the Agency’s direction for OC Transpo to send Mr. Green a copy of the monthly compliance reports, which required him to make requests for them. OC Transpo’s apparent disregard for the seriousness of the issue has required Mr. Green to involve himself in a continuing process before the Agency, including the current application by OC Transpo for the Agency to consider a variance of a previous decision made by the Agency. None of this is acceptable.
 Therefore, the Agency finds it appropriate to award costs to Mr. Green with respect to this application. If the parties are unable to agree on the costs within 30 days, Mr. Green may refer the matter to the Agency and it will appoint a taxing officer to fix the quantum.
TAXATION OF BILL OF COSTS 2012-157-AT-MV-2011TAX
June 29, 2012
AWARD OF COSTS – TERRANCE J. GREEN V. OC TRANSPO.
File No. U 3570/06-41
 This assessment arises from Decision No. 157-AT-MV-2011 of the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency). In that Decision, the Agency awarded costs to Terrance J. Green in relation to his participation in an application made to the Agency by the City of Ottawa, on behalf of OC Transpo, to vary Decision No. 85-AT-MV-2009 (2009 Decision).
 In making the award of costs to Mr. Green, the Agency stated that if the parties were unable to reach an agreement on the costs within 30 days, Mr. Green could refer the matter to the Agency and it would appoint a taxing officer to fix the quantum. On June 28, 2011, Mr. Green requested that a taxing officer be assigned. I was one of the panel members in the matter and, as such, have knowledge of this case. By letter dated July 11, 2011, I was appointed by the Agency, pursuant to subsection 25.1(3) of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, as amended (CTA), as taxing officer to determine the quantum of costs to be taxed and allowed to Mr. Green, which costs shall be paid by OC Transpo.
 On November 22, 2006, Mr. Green filed an application with the Agency pursuant to subsections 172(1) and (3) of the CTA asserting that OC Transpo operators failed to apply OC Transpo’s policies and procedures concerning calling out major stops or any other stop requested by a passenger.
 This led to the issuance of Decision No. 200-AT-MV-2007, Decision No. 610-AT-MV-2007 (November 2007 Decision) and the 2009 Decision. The latter Decision varied the November 2007 Decision in light of OC Transpo’s apparent misconstruing of the corrective measures – specifically its incorrect interpretation that the Agency had ordered the installation of an automated stop announcement system – and to clarify the time frame for the implementation of the corrective measures. OC Transpo was ordered to ensure that:
- All major and requested stops are called out; and,
- All announcements of stops are made in a manner that permits them to be clearly heard.
 OC Transpo was also required to report monthly for a two-year period both on its Web site and to Mr. Green regarding its compliance level in the calling out of major and requested stops. The reports were to reflect the results of monitoring the compliance and note any new complaints OC Transpo received.
 After considering OC Transpo’s application to vary the 2009 Decision, the Agency determined in Decision No. LET-AT-MV-172-2010 that there were new facts and circumstances pertaining to the 2009 Decision since it was issued. However, additional information was required to determine whether these new facts and circumstances would warrant a variance of the 2009 Decision.
 Following the filing of the additional information, the Agency issued Decision No. LET-AT-MV-2-2011, in which it stated its preliminary opinion that the Next Stop Announcement System (NSAS), an automated system that announces all bus stops using Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates, when in full operational mode, would appear to be an effective means of providing the appropriate accommodation to persons with visual impairments. However, further submissions and clarifications from OC Transpo were required.
 On May 5, 2011, the Agency issued Decision No. 157-AT-MV-2011. In that Decision, the Agency concluded that the appropriate accommodation for Mr. Green and other persons with similar disability-related needs is the NSAS, together with an enforced policy that requires OC Transpo operators to announce major and requested stops in a manner that is at all times audible whenever the NSAS is not installed or not operational for any reason.
 In addition, the Agency varied the November 2007 Decision, as varied by the 2009 Decision, relating to Mr. Green’s complaint. The Agency replaced the order for corrective measures and ordered OC Transpo to implement the corrective measures within 30 days from the date of the Decision.
 In Decision No. 157-AT-MV-2011, as noted above, the Agency also awarded costs to Mr. Green. In making its finding, the Agency stated: “... it is now 2011 and in the four years since the order in the November 2007 Decision, OC Transpo operators have often failed to call out stops in accordance with OC Transpo’s policy and OC Transpo has consistently failed to ensure that its operators respect the policy. In addition, Mr. Green has brought to the Agency’s attention that OC Transpo has not fully complied with the Agency’s direction for OC Transpo to send Mr. Green a copy of the monthly compliance reports, which required him to make requests for them. OC Transpo’s apparent disregard for the seriousness of the issue has required Mr. Green to involve himself in a continuing process before the Agency, including the current application by OC Transpo for the Agency to consider a variance of a previous decision made by the Agency. None of this is acceptable. Therefore, the Agency finds it appropriate to award costs to Mr. Green with respect to this application.”
 In a letter to Mr. Green and OC Transpo on August 11, 2011, I directed the parties to refer in their submissions to general principles, if applicable, previously applied by taxing officers appointed by the Agency and, if appropriate and applicable, to other guiding material, including, without limitation, the Federal Court Tariff B – Counsel Fees and Disbursements Allowable on Assessment, and other court principles and determinations.
 On September 1, 2011, Mr. Green submitted a Bill of Costs and on September 8, 2011, OC Transpo submitted its response to Mr. Green’s Bill of Costs. On September 13, 2011, Mr. Green submitted his reply to OC Transpo.
PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING COST AWARDS
 While the Agency does not have regulations or rules prescribing tariffs regarding the awarding of costs to a party, I have reviewed previous taxation orders issued by Agency taxing officers to identify common taxing criteria and have reviewed the principles applied by the Courts. I have also examined the submissions of Mr. Green and OC Transpo to arrive at what I consider to be a fair and reasonable assessment to the extent that the costs claimed are reasonably necessary to permit full and fair participation.
 As a further tool in my assessment, I have examined the principles applied by the Courts and Tariff B of the Federal Courts Rules, SOR/98-106, which detail counsel fees and disbursements allowable on assessment. I have used this Tariff for general comparison purposes. However, Tariff B establishes an assessment criteria based upon party–and-party costs, which results in less than full compensation for the successful party. As such, it is only a guide, and is not determinative.
 In making my determination as to the quantum to be awarded, I was guided by the principle that the costs must be reasonable in the circumstances and must have been incurred directly and necessarily for the purposes of the proceeding.
 From the principles established by the Courts, I have also noted that solicitor and client costs are generally intended to result in a full indemnity of legal fees and disbursements and are generally awarded only where there has been reprehensible conduct on the part of one of the parties such as delaying tactics, unduly prolonging proceedings, or scandalous or outrageous conduct. I will be guided by this principle in my assessment.
Mr. Green’s submission
 In his submission, Mr. Green, who is blind, states that he requires sighted assistance in dealing with print materials and Web sites that are not designed in accordance with W3CG Web- accessible standards. He notes that many of the Web pages that contained the information that he required in order to deal with the issue were not accessible. Mr. Green adds that he also requires support staff to convert print to readable formats, to find information on Web sites not accessible to his computer voice technology, and to describe maps or pictures, all of which comprise part of the materials required, or required to be reviewed by him, during the proceeding before the Agency.
 Mr. Green points out that he has been a lawyer in private practice since 2001, and, with respect to the Bill of Costs, he submits that the hours and time he spent on addressing the issue before the Agency of safe and secure public transportation for persons living in the Ottawa area who are blind meant that he was unable to bill those hours to his law firm’s clients.
 Mr. Green states that the proceedings were by no means simple and that the issues raised in the matter were of high importance. As for the specific issue of compliance for calling out stops with the NSAS, he submits that this required him to talk with, and gather information from, other blind persons living in the Ottawa area.
 He maintains that OC Transpo unnecessarily prolonged the proceedings and that there was never any real effort shown as to why OC Transpo management could not implement the Agency order to have bus operators call out stops. He argues that this led to the Agency, in the most recent proceedings, having to go back to OC Transpo to obtain further information respecting the NSAS which, in turn, required Mr. Green to have support assistants find and explain to him technical information.
 Mr. Green submitted his claim for costs in a modified form to fit the circumstances of the matters he was required to address. The claim, including his own time, the time of his assistants, and disbursements, amounts to $19,310.85 for full indemnity and $16,168.35 for partial indemnity.
OC Transpo’s submission
 OC Transpo submits that in circumstances where costs are awarded, there is a general principle that costs normally are awarded to the successful party. OC Transpo submits that the Agency granted its request to vary the prior decision, which request was opposed by Mr. Green. Accordingly, OC Transpo submits that, at the very least, OC Transpo has achieved divided success on its application. OC Transpo submits that, by the Agency exercising its discretion to vary the prior decision, there was indeed merit and necessity in bringing the application. Accordingly, with regard to Rule 400(3) of the Federal Courts Rules, OC Transpo requests that consideration be given to the necessity, merit and result of the proceeding on the taxation of costs.
 With respect to OC Transpo’s conduct, OC Transpo submits that its pursuit of the application was conducted in an efficient manner and involved the exchange of written submissions and a site visit. OC Transpo also points out that a hearing was not required. OC Transpo also submits that Rule 407 of the Federal Courts Rules provides that, unless ordered otherwise, party-and-party costs shall be assessed in accordance with Column III of Tariff B.
 OC Transpo further submits that Mr. Green’s cost submissions address matters that predate the application to vary the 2009 Decision and that factors or conduct of any party prior to that application should not be relevant factors.
 OC Transpo cites Fong v. Chan  O.J. No. 4600 as supporting the contention that self-represented litigants are not entitled to costs calculated on the same basis as those of the litigant who retains counsel.
 OC Transpo also asserts that the principle of proportionality in administrative tribunal proceedings is an overriding factor for the Agency to consider. OC Transpo further argues that fees submitted by Mr. Green for his support staff relate to overhead costs and should form part of the hourly rate for which Mr. Green seeks recovery. OC Transpo states that the “research” and “review” costs sought by Mr. Green are excessive and asserts that the materials filed with the Agency by Mr. Green on the application were minimal.
 OC Transpo submits that the costs that the Agency should allow Mr. Green should be approximately $2,800, being a mid-range amount after applying Tariff B of the Federal Courts Rules which indicate allowable costs between $1,654.65 on the low end, to a maximum of $4,105.35.
Mr. Green’s reply
 With respect to the issue of whether Mr. Green was a successful party, Mr. Green argues that the fundamental issue throughout all of the proceedings was the accommodation of information and communications for persons who are blind and who use public transportation systems, specifically OC Transpo. Mr. Green argues that the specific variance application made by OC Transpo, for which an award of costs was made in his favour, relates to non-compliance by OC Transpo with an order of the Agency, and to his participation which clarified that, when the NSAS is not working, OC Transpo must ensure that its operators announce major and requested stops in a manner that is, at all times, audible. Mr. Green asserts that the Agency recognized the points he raised in his submissions and those were reflected in Decision No. 157-AT-MV-2011.
 As for the costs submitted by Mr. Green for sighted assistance to deal with printed materials and to review information on Web sites, Mr. Green reiterates that OC Transpo materials relating to the matter before the Agency were not accessible to him and he argues that OC Transpo’s submissions fail to recognize the facts and circumstances for which persons with disabilities require accommodation. He further asserts that it is a reasonable cost of accommodation for a person who is blind to have access to such materials in order to appropriately address OC Transpo’s application.
 Mr. Green also argues that the NSAS is a very complex automated system and in order to understand the capabilities, responsiveness, reliability and other related aspects of that system, particularly for purposes of accommodation, his research, although not all legal in nature, was absolutely necessary, was reasonable, and went directly to the matter in question before the Agency.
 Finally, Mr. Green submits that the OC Transpo submissions totally disregard the fact that the Agency is in no manner obligated to follow Tariff B, nor Ontario Rules of Civil Procedures, and the Agency should apply a reasonable approach in determining hourly rates, which is the guide he used when making his cost submissions.
BILL OF COSTS
 Mr. Green has submitted a detailed Bill of Costs that outlines the hours for preparation of the materials relating to OC Transpo’s application to vary the 2009 Decision. The hours include his own time and that of his support staff who provided research and sighted assistance. Mr. Green has also set out actual hourly rates charged by his law firm and reduced hourly rates on a partial indemnity basis.
 Before going through an analysis of the Bill of Costs, some general determinations must be made.
 First, although Mr. Green is a lawyer, in this instance the application by OC Transpo to vary the 2009 Decision relates back to his initial application in 2006 made on his own behalf and for the benefit of all persons with visual impairment disabilities travelling with OC Transpo. For the purposes of this award, Mr. Green must therefore be considered as a self-represented party. The case law is clear that self-represented litigants, whether legally trained or not, are not entitled to costs calculated on the same basis as litigants who retain counsel. The case law states further that costs should only be awarded to self-represented litigants who: (1) can demonstrate that they devoted time and effort to do the work ordinarily done by a lawyer retained to conduct the litigation; and, (2) as a result, they incurred an opportunity cost by foregoing remunerative activity.
 Mr. Green has met those two tests. The Bill of Costs indicates that his time and effort was clearly equivalent to work expected to be done by a lawyer if retained on this matter and Mr. Green has stated that the time he put into his submissions was at the expense of him being unable to put time into alternative billable hours for his firm. I therefore find that Mr. Green is entitled to costs as a self-represented litigant.
 Second, I refer to my letter of August 11, 2011. In that letter I set out directions to Mr. Green and OC Transpo on what I expected in their submissions. I invited them, if relevant and appropriate, to refer, without limitation, to guiding material such as the Federal Court Tariff B. That invitation was merely a guide and, as Mr. Green has noted in his reply, did not bind me to following or applying Tariff B, or any other tariff. In the circumstances, considering that the application for a variance made by OC Transpo relates to accommodation for persons with visual impairment disabilities and that Mr. Green is blind, I am persuaded by Mr. Green’s argument that I should apply a reasonable approach, rather than a strict assessment, in reviewing the Bill of Costs.
 Third, with respect to whether the equivalent of solicitor and client costs should be awarded, I note that the award of costs set out in Decision No. 157-AT-MV-2011 states that the actions, or lack thereof, by OC Transpo since the issuance of the November 2007 Decision were not acceptable. Although this would appear to indicate conduct justifying an assessment of costs at the higher, full indemnity, level claimed by Mr. Green, I am not persuaded that the conduct was of such a nature that the penalizing impact of full indemnity should be applied. Accordingly, as noted above, my assessment will apply a reasonable approach to the determination of the costs allowable to Mr. Green.
A) Mr. Green’s hourly rates
 Mr. Green submits that his rate as a lawyer is $200.00 per hour and that, considering his years at the Ontario Bar, this rate is reasonable for an assessment of costs. However, he is also suggesting that a reduced rate of $175.00 per hour, on a partial indemnity basis, could be considered. OC Transpo submits that pursuant to section 4 of Tariff B, Mr. Green would be entitled to $136.15 per hour.
 In past taxation orders, taxing officers, in setting hourly rates, have considered factors such as the legal complexity of the issues and the importance of the matter to the applicant. In this instance, the Agency was dealing with a difficult accommodation issue and, in particular, with respect to an assessment of the NSAS with implications not only for Mr. Green, but for others with visual impairments. I am therefore not persuaded that a strict application of Tariff B, as advocated by OC Transpo, is appropriate. In turn, as noted above, the maximum rate claimed by Mr. Green is also not appropriate.
 Accordingly, applying a reasonable approach, I find a rate of $175 per hour to be appropriate in this assessment.
B) Support staff hourly rates
 Mr. Green submits the hourly rates of support staff as follows:
Matt Lake – actual hourly rate $75; reduced hourly rate $60.
Deborah Mayo – actual hourly rate $75; reduced hourly rate $60.
Helen Smith – actual hourly rate $75; reduced hourly rate $60.
 OC Transpo submits that all of the costs submitted by Mr. Green for support staff relate to overhead costs and, as such, should form part of the rate for which Mr. Green seeks recovery. OC Transpo also submits that the employees who performed this work were not lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, nor articling students. OC Transpo argues that excluding this work is consistent with Item 28 set out in Tariff B and that these costs are improperly included in Mr. Green’s submission.
 In Mr. Green’s submission, Deborah Mayo is described as a law clerk. There is no evidence before me indicating whether the other support staff are clerks, paralegals, or articling students. Again, in the circumstances, recognizing that Mr. Green is blind, I am persuaded that sighted support assistance was appropriate for the full and fair participation of Mr. Green in the proceedings. Accordingly, this is not a case for the costs of support staff to be absorbed as “overhead costs” within Mr. Green’s hourly costs. However, it is difficult to reasonably accept the hourly rates suggested by Mr. Green for staff other than for Deborah Mayo.
 Accordingly, I find that a rate of $60 per hour is reasonable for Deborah Mayo and that a rate of $25 per hour is reasonable for all other support staff.
C) Allowable costs
 I have reviewed the submissions of the parties and have divided the costs into five categories which I will deal with separately. I note that OC Transpo, in making its submissions, has used and referred to allowable “units” from Column III of Tariff B which, in all instances, equate to hours. Therefore, I will use the latter, namely hours, for ease of comparison of the respective submissions.
1) Communication and monitoring, including reviewing OC Transpo submissions and CTA decisions, and instructing staff and being briefed by them on their findings
 Mr. Green claims 17.1 hours for communication and monitoring, reviewing OC Transpo submissions and Agency decisions, including instructing staff and being briefed by them.
 OC Transpo, applying Items 2 and 13(a) of Column III of Tariff B, submits that Mr. Green is entitled to 6 to 12 hours.
 Mr. Green submits that part of the preparation for his submission involved assessing compliance by OC Transpo for calling out stops with the NSAS or whenever the NSAS was not installed or not operational for any reason. Mr. Green indicates that this required him talking with and gathering information from other blind persons living in the Ottawa area. In my view, his time commitment would not be captured by a mere application of Tariff B.
 I accept the following: 17.1 hours for Mr. Green at a rate of $175 per hour.
2) Preparation and drafting responses
 Mr. Green claims 25.9 hours for preparing and drafting responses, including reviewing materials. Mr. Green also submits 7.5 hours for editing done by Ms. Smith.
 OC Transpo, applying Item 15 of Column III of Tariff B, submits that Mr. Green is entitled to 3-7 hours. OC Transpo further submits that all work performed by Ms. Smith should be excluded as being inconsistent with item 28 of Tariff B.
 There is a wide discrepancy in these submissions and OC Transpo persuasively argues that the application related merely to a variance of an issued decision and not to a fresh application. I also note that this is a matter in which Mr. Green was very familiar considering his involvement in the extensive prior proceeding. On the other hand, Mr. Green has argued that there was a significant amount of complexity to consider, especially with respect to the NSAS. It is my opinion that a reasonable time allocation for Mr. Green for this category is a mid-point between the submissions. With respect to Ms. Smith, this appears to be a reasonable amount of time considering Mr. Green’s requirement for sighted assistance and I have already determined that Ms. Smith’s time is allowable at a rate of $25 per hour.
 I accept the following: 16 hours for Mr. Green at a rate of $175 per hour and 7.5 hours for Ms. Smith at a rate of $25 per hour.
3) Site visit
 Mr. Green claims 2.7 hours for his attendance at the site visit and 2.7 hours for attendance at the site visit by Ms. Smith. OC Transpo, applying Item 24 of Column III of Tariff B, agrees to 1 to5 hours for Mr. Green, but submits that all costs for support staff are improperly included in the Bill of Costs as relating to overhead costs.
 There is no dispute as to the allowable time and the only issue relates to the time requested for Ms. Smith, which, as noted above, I have determined is allowable at a rate of $25 per hour.
 I accept 2.7 hours for Mr. Green at a rate of $175 per hour and 2.7 hours for Ms. Smith at a rate of $25 per hour.
4) Compiling costs submission
 Mr. Green claims 2 hours for compiling his cost submission plus 7.5 hours by Ms. Smith. OC Transpo agrees to 2 to 6 hours.
 In determining the appropriate amount of compensation for the assessment of costs, I note that the preparation of a Bill of Costs is normally considered an administrative task performed by office staff. In light of this, in this instance, I find that the appropriate mechanism to determine a fair rate is to use the default column of Tariff B as a guideline. Using the high end of Column III, I allow $720 for the assessment of costs.
5) Research and preparing materials for Mr. Green’s use
 For research and preparation of materials, Mr. Green claims 61.1 hours by Matt Lake, 40.8 hours by Deborah Mayo and 14.8 hours by Helen Smith. OC Transpo submits that all work performed by these individuals should be excluded as being inconsistent with Item 28 of Tariff B. OC Transpo also submits that the costs for research and review are excessive and specifically argues that in Mr. Green’s submissions there is no reference to any case law or any other information to explain the nature of the research. The position of OC Transpo is persuasive, although it is important to note that the issue being addressed by Mr. Green was not a matter for “case law”, but an assessment of the merits of the NSAS for the purpose of providing accommodation for persons with visual impairment disabilities and compliance with an order of the Agency when the NSAS was not installed or operational. Notwithstanding the latter, I find the total hours claimed for this category to be unreasonable, considering the submissions, and will allow one-half of the time claimed.
 I accept 30.5 hours for Mr. Lake at a rate of $25 per hour, 20.4 hours for Ms. Mayo at a rate of $60 per hour, and 7.4 hours for Ms. Smith at a rate of $25 per hour.
 To summarize the above, I accept the following fees:
- For Mr. Green, 35.8 hours at a rate of $175 per hour $6,265.00
- For Ms. Mayo, 20.4 hours at a rate of $60 per hour 1,224.00
- For Mr. Green’s assistants, 48.1 hours at a rate of $25 per hour 1,202.50
- For assessment of costs $720.00
- Total fees $9,411.50
 Mr. Green claims disbursements in the amount of $20.85. OC Transpo does not object to the claim for disbursements.
COSTS AS TAXED
 I tax the fees and disbursements as follows:
- Fees: $9,411.50
- Disbursements: $20.85
- Total: $9,432.35
 The award of costs shall be paid to Mr. Green by OC Transpo within 30 days from the date of this Order.