As Internet access becomes ever more critical to our daily lives, decisions made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – our telecommunications regulator – can have increasingly wide ranging impact on our lives.

It is not surprising that public participation in CRTC proceedings is common, and it is important for the CRTC to hear how the issues it must decide might impact the general public.

The CRTC’s procedure is generally structured to make public participation in ongoing proceedings relatively easy, and it can be as simple as filling out a form on the CRTC’s website indicating one’s views or concerns relating to a particular proceeding. But CRTC decisions are subject to review by the courts and in the past this has been a cause of concern for individual participants in CRTC proceedings who find themselves potentially embroiled in more formal and complex judicial processes on appeal.

If you are an individual who provided input into a CRTC telecommunications proceeding and suddenly find yourself in court–don’t worry. Generally speaking, you can ignore the court process and there will be no direct consequences to you, as we explain in more detail below. (Note that if you initiated a complaint or proceeding at the CRTC,or if you have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the proceeding, the implications in terms of legal costs might be different for you).