COVID-19–Instructions to the Parties for Videoconference Hearing

The Canada Industrial Relations Board (the Board) will conduct the hearing by videoconference, using the Zoom web-based platform. In order to ensure the effective conduct of the hearing by videoconference, the parties are asked to take the following steps:

Connecting to the Videoconference Hearing

The Board will send the participants an email containing the link and the password to the videoconference the business day before the hearing. The parties are responsible to send the link and the password to the videoconference to their respective witnesses. The link and password are not to be shared with any other person. If a member of the general public wishes to attend an online proceeding, they must first contact the Board in writing to register and request an invitation and password.

Prior to the videoconference hearing, the participants can test their connection and setup with Zoom by doing a test meeting which is available at: https://zoom.us/test.

The system requirements for using the Zoom platform can be found on their website at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us.

The participants should use a laptop, a computer or a tablet equipped with a webcam and a microphone. It is preferable to be connected to a LAN line; if using Wi-Fi, participants should ensure proper broadband for video capacity. A secondary computer or screen might be helpful to take notes or to access documents. The participants are asked to test their webcam and microphone prior to the videoconference hearing. Note that  using headphones can improve the quality of sound.

Participating in the Videoconference Hearing

We ask that the participants be in a quiet and private room, where background noise is minimal or non-existent, and where window shades are drawn in order to avoid glare. The background behind you should be professional and participants, including witnesses, should be dressed in proper attire. Virtual backgrounds are not allowed.

The participants will need to have access to a telephone during the videoconference hearing and should be prepared to proceed via teleconference should the videoconference option fail, disconnect or lag.

The participants will have readily available all documents that were exchanged prior to the hearing, either by means of a separate computer/laptop/ monitor or their own paper copies.  Documents that are provided to witnesses in advance of the hearing must be in a clean and unannotated form.

The participants should ensure that all notifications on the computer and all other peripheral devices are turned off (cell phone, landline, keyboard, etc.).

Participants will keep their microphones muted and wait for the invitation from the chair of the hearing before speaking; it is important to enunciate clearly in order to ensure all communications are understood by all parties.

The participants are not permitted to create an audio or video recording of any parts of the hearing at any time. This includes, but is not limited to, taking screen shots, recording conversations, and/or using third-party software to record the proceeding.

The witnesses in the proceedings must, for the duration of their testimony, ensure the following:

  1. They are alone in a room;
  2. They use a computer or tablet only for the purpose of the videoconference hearing, that all other applications are closed and that they are not using any other function or device to communicate with other individuals;
  3. They have clean and unannotated copies of the documents that were filed prior to the hearing and will look at those documents only when asked to do so during the hearing;
  4. They may be asked to use the camera to show the room where they are located or any of the documents they have with them.

Please note that Zoom is not recognized by the Government of Canada as a secure channel to discuss protected information. However, given that the Board’s proceedings are generally open and accessible to the public, combined with the implementation of all security features offered by the platform, the risks associated with its use are minimal and no different than those that are present in any other form of hearing.

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