Guide to Videoconferencing Proceedings and Zoom

Tribunals Ontario is holding video conferencing proceedings using Zoom where feasible and procedurally appropriate.

Table of Contents

How to Prepare for a Videoconference

The tribunal will provide a link to join the Zoom proceeding. Participants must ensure that they have access to all related documents and tools before the proceeding. Please contact the tribunal if you do not have the necessary applications and tools.

Parties are responsible for providing the link to their witnesses and informing them that they are required to join Zoom at the time directed by the tribunal to give their evidence.

Participants may use a smartphone for the video conference at the discretion of the adjudicator. The use of a smartphone is discouraged due to potential disruptions (incoming calls and messages) and the risk of running out of battery.

Technology Requirements

Each participant will need a device equipped with a webcam and microphone and access to a reliable internet connection with adequate bandwidth. The device should always be plugged in.

Tips for participants:

Joining the Videoconference

All participants should join Zoom 10 minutes before the scheduled start time to allow enough time to login. If parties or witnesses have any difficulty joining, they should refer to the Zoom User Guide section below and/or contact the tribunal.

In addition to the tribunal adjudicator facilitating the proceeding and any staff attending, only the following people are authorized to attend a closed proceeding:

In the case of an open proceeding, the public may observe via teleconference provided by the tribunal.

What is expected of participants?

The same formal etiquette and protocol of in-person proceedings are expected in a video conference. This means:

Rules for witnesses

To protect the integrity of the proceeding, rules for witnesses include:

Best practices for document submission

Public proceedings best practice

Public proceeding schedule will be posted on the respective website in advance of the proceeding. Members of the public, who wish to observe a public proceeding conducted on Zoom, will be able to do so via a teleconference. To do so, members of the public may need to reach out to the respective tribunal to obtain instructions.

At the discretion of the tribunal, members of the public may observe the proceeding via Zoom. The tribunal will be responsible for providing the Zoom link and access instructions to the public. The technical limitation of Zoom to be able to host a maximum of 300 participants at any given proceeding will be considered.


Whenever appropriate, interpreters will be engaged in a proceeding. The tribunal will follow usual procedures for engaging an interpreter and will provide the interpreter with instructions on joining a proceeding via Zoom. The interpreter will be expected to provide interpretation services as needed throughout the proceeding. As best practice, the tribunal may provide guidelines to interpreter on providing the most efficient service. Participants, who require interpretation, should familiarize themselves with the Pin Participant function as outlined in the Zoom User Guide section.


If a participant is disconnected from the videoconference and cannot immediately reconnect, they must contact the tribunal. If participants cannot rejoin, the proceeding will be temporarily adjourned. The tribunal will convene a conference call to determine the next steps. In some cases, the adjudicator may adjourn the proceeding if they determine it cannot proceed fairly.

Legal Disclaimer

The proceeding shall be conducted by videoconference using Zoom. Please note that, by clicking on the link to the Zoom videoconference, personal information such as your name, email address and IP address may be collected, stored, used and disclosed by Microsoft in accordance with its Privacy Policy and the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Please refer to Microsoft’s Privacy Policy for more information.

Zoom User Guide

Getting Started

Participants are encouraged to join the proceeding from a secure and quiet location. Ensure that all devices and equipment are connected and working properly. You will need access to a reliable internet connection with adequate bandwidth for video conferencing.

You will need:

At a Proceeding

How to join a proceeding

The tribunal will send you a meeting invite with a link to access the proceeding via Zoom.

It is recommended that you join the proceeding 10 minutes before the start time to address any potential technical issues and login.

The link to the Zoom meeting in your email will resemble the following image:

Screenshot of an email invitation. It says Join Zoom Meeting followed by a link to the meeting, a meeting ID, and a passcode.

If you already have the Zoom application (app) downloaded, the meeting should open in the app when you click to join the meeting. If you have not downloaded the app, click the link in the invite and you will be prompted to proceed with a browser version or the option to download the app as shown below:

Screenshot of the launch meeting prompt. It says click open on the dialog shown by your browser. If you don't see a dialog, click Launch Meeting below.
There is a Launch Meeting button following the text. Beneath the Launch Meeting button is a link to download the Zoom application.">

From this page, you can open Zoom in your browser (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer) or download the Zoom app. If you choose to Join on the Web Instead, you will be brought to a new webpage.

Enter your name to join the proceeding and validate the Captcha verification:

Screenshot of the Join Meeting screen. From top to bottom, there is a text field for the user's name, a checkbox to remember the user name for future meetings, a security CAPTCHA and a Join button.

Using Video and Mircophone

To turn your video or microphone on or off during a proceeding, click the icon for the webcam or microphone.

In the image below, the video is turned off and the microphone is on. If there is a strikethrough either or both of the icons, the function is turned off.

Screenshot of the microphone and video buttons. The microphone is on the left and the video is on the right.

When you click the link to join the proceeding, you will automatically be placed into the waiting room. The adjudicator will admit you to join the meeting room.

Breakout Rooms

While you are in the main proceeding room, the adjudicator may assign you to join a separate Breakout Room. You will see a prompt with an invitation to join:

Screenshot of the breakout room prompt. It says you have been assigned to Breakout Room: Breakout Room 2. Beneath the text is a Join Breakout Room button.

You can leave the Breakout Room and return to the main meeting room at any time, or you can leave the entire proceeding from the Breakout Room. Click the Leave button in the bottom right of your Zoom meeting:

Leave Breakout Room buttons. The Leave Meeting button is on the top, and the Leave Breakout Room button is on the bottom.

If you click Leave Meeting, you will end your participation in the Breakout Room and main meeting room.

If the adjudicator ends the Breakout Room(s), you will be notified and given the option to return to the main room immediately, or in 60 seconds.

Pin Participant

Zoom will display your view within a meeting room based on who is speaking and if content is being shared. To focus on a specific participant’s video, regardless if they’re speaking or not, you must ‘pin’ their video. To pin a participant, open the Participant Menu and click the More button then select Pin.

Screenshot of the Participants Menu. Participants are represented by an icon and their name.

The participant will have a thumbtack icon next to their name in the Participant Menu and in the meeting room:

Screenshot of the thumbtack icon.

If you choose to share a document while there are pinned participants, the document will take precedence and will minimize the videos.

Raise Your Hand

The Raise Your Hand feature in Zoom is an excellent tool if you have a comment or question and do not want to interrupt the proceeding.

To raise your hand, click Reactions/Raise Hand in the control bar:

Screenshot of the Reactions icon. Screenshot of the Raise Hand icon.

The adjudicator will be notified when you raise your hand and will give you time to speak when the opportunity arises. Once you have had your chance to speak, the adjudicator will ‘lower your hand’. You can raise your hand throughout the proceeding.


To chat in Zoom, click the Chat icon in the main control bar. The meeting chat window will open in the meeting:

Screenshot of the Chat window. The user can select who their message is for via the To: field. To the right of the To: field is a File icon the user can click to upload attachments. Beneath those options is the Chat box in which users can type their messages.

Type the message in the chat field and push Enter on your keyboard to send the message.

Please refer to the Tribunals Ontario website for more information.

May 2021
Tribunals Ontario