As a result of the Civil Justice Reform Project the role of an expert witness was redefined in the Rules of Civil Procedure R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194. The report dealt with expert bias and provided a recommendation — "To establish that it is the duty of an expert to assist the court on matters within his or her expertise and that this duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom he or she has received instructions for payment. Require the expert, in an expert report, to certify that he or she is aware of and understands his duty."  In other words, experts have to be objective, regardless of which party retained them.

The duties of experts are codified in Rule 4.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Experts are required to fill out a form (Form 53) acknowledging that they understand their duty to be objective. In Dennis v. Ontario Gaming Corporation 2011 ONSC 7024, the court recently found that while an expert only has to sign an Acknowledgment of Expert’s Duty for a trial, but “one could make the case” that it would be good practice on a certification motion to include the matters set out in Rule 53.03(2.1) in an expert’s report.

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