It is ok to apologise before an arbitration, unless there is a limitation period issue or criminal or quasi criminal implications.
Subsection 2(3) of Ontario’s Apology Act states the following:
Despite any other Act or law, evidence of an apology made by or on behalf of a person in connection with any matter is not admissible in any civil proceeding, administrative proceeding or arbitration as evidence of the fault or liability of any person in connection with that matter.
Many counsel are reluctant to let their clients apologise because they fear that an apology may impact the eventual hearing. However, some of the most effective arbitrations stem from an apology.
An apology is reflective of a certain attitude that bodes well for arbitration.