Citing section 20 of the Alberta Utilities Commission
Act, as well as the Commission's authority to determine
the processes that best fit the nature of its proceedings, the
Alberta Utilities Commission (the "Commission") has
recently announced its intention to review the necessity and
efficiency of qualifying expert witnesses for the purposes of
hearings. To facilitate the review, the Commission has informed all
parties involved in Proceeding No. 2739 that it will not be
necessary for counsel to request that their respective witnesses be
qualified as "expert" witnesses for the purposes of
pre-filed written evidence or testimony in the proceeding.
In implementing the pilot project, the Commission observed that
it generally allows witnesses to provide opinion evidence where
relevant to the scope of a proceeding regardless of whether the
witnesses are properly qualified as experts. The Commission
determines the weight to be given to such evidence by considering
the professional qualifications, specialized knowledge, experience,
relevant publications, industry recognition and independence of the
witness in question.
The Commission noted that regardless of the change, a
witnesses' curriculum vitae should continue to be provided and
counsel should continue to review the qualifications of their
witnesses as part of the hearing. Moreover, opposing counsel will
continue to be able to question a witnesses' qualifications as
well as the credibility of the evidence provided. Counsel will also
continue to be able to opine on the weight that the Commission
should give to a witness' evidence.
The Commission has also indicated that witness cost awards will
be calculated based on the contribution and assistance the witness
provides to the Commission in understanding the issues relevant to
As observed by the Commission, this decision could operate to
streamline proceedings and avoid tangential disputes over the
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