Zoom Hearing Guidelines

Hearing Guidelines

The Tribunal has scheduled the proceeding to be heard by videoconference. Participants are asked to conduct themselves as they normally would in an in-person hearing. This includes:

  • Refrain from speaking to or otherwise distracting participants in the hearing.
  • Hats or head coverings are not permitted, except for religious reasons.
  • Sunglasses are not permitted, except for medical reasons.
  • Participants are recommended to dress in business attire.
  • Photography, video, or audio recording of the hearing room is not allowed unless the panel has given its permission.
  • Refrain from eating during the hearing.
  • Always follow the instructions from the panel.
  • The hearing will be transcribed by a court reporter in attendance. Everything you say in the hearing will be on the record.
  • All behaviour during the hearing must be courteous and respectful.
  • Tribunal proceedings are open to the public unless ordered otherwise by the panel. If the panel has ordered that the proceedings or part of the proceedings not be public, members of the public in attendance will be placed in the virtual waiting room until the hearing resumes in public.

Technical requirements

Before joining a Zoom hearing on a computer or mobile device, you may download the Zoom app from their Download Center. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click on the link provided by the Scheduling Coordinator.

To participate in a Zoom hearing you will need the following:

  • an internet connection
  • a microphone and a speaker or earphones
  • a webcam or HD webcam – built-in or USB plug-in

If joining from your computer, you will also need:

  • Windows XP with SP3 or later and  one of the following browsers: Internet Explorer 11+ / Edge 12+ / Firefox 27+ / Chrome 30+  OR
  • macOS X with macOS 10.7 or later and one of the following browsers: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

The hearing can also be joined by telephone connection (audio only).

Each hearing has a unique 9, 10, or 11-digit number called a meeting ID and a password that will be required to join it.

Best practices for using Zoom from home

  • Set up in a quiet comfortable space if you have one. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign if needed.
  • Avoid appearing for the hearing in a public place.
  • Turn off notifications or silence your phone.
  • If possible, use a headset with built in mic to reduce background noise.
  • Fully dress for work and wear neutral, solid-coloured clothing.
  • Remember that the camera does not always capture hand gestures or nonverbal cues, so it is important to verbalize all communication.
  • Have a neutral background.
  • Virtual backgrounds are not recommended for Tribunal hearings at this time.
Recommendations on how to appear on video
 Background: Don’t have busy, messy or personal items in the background.   Consider where your head hits items behind you  
Check where you are in the frame: Don’t sit too close or far from your cameraDon’t appear with part of your face missing from the screen With more participants, the frames for each will get smaller making it difficult for others to see you clearly
   Consider lighting: Avoid light from behind you e.g. do not sit with your back to a window or light source.    
Preferred: Lighting is in frontHead and shoulders are centered and take up at least 2/3 of the frameHeight of the camera maximizes eye contact or is at eye-levelBackground is neutral    

Resource: Pam Chapman, Legal Educator and Consultant, “Conducting Remote Hearings & Mediations. Videoconferencing Essentials”.

Before the hearing starts

Attending a hearing via Zoom will run more smoothly if you ensure:

  • that your laptop/device is sufficiently charged and/or plugged in and that you have the charging cable at the ready if needed;
  • that all the documents that you may rely on in the hearing are easily accessible;
  • that all unnecessary applications on your device are closed;
  • that you are able to take notes either electronically or by handwriting; and
  • that you have a glass of water handy for when you are speaking.

Log on early

Parties are expected to log on to the Zoom hearing no less than 15 minutes before the scheduled start time so that any technological issues can be resolved and the hearing can start on time.

How to join a Zoom hearing

  1. Click on the link in your meeting invitation, open the Zoom desktop app or go to https://zoom.us/join.
  2. Click on Join a Meeting.
  3. Enter the meeting ID number (if necessary), the password (provided in the e-mail from the Scheduling Coordinator) and the name you would like displayed on the screen.
  4. Select if you would like to join with video and/or audio. You can also call in to the phone number provided to use your phone for audio and computer for video.

For more detailed instructions or how to join the meeting from your phone/tablet see: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting

Technical Issues

Despite best efforts, participants may encounter technical issues that cause a delay in the hearing or unexpected interruptions. If you are unable to join a scheduled Zoom hearing, please immediately contact the Tribunal office for assistance at 416-947-5249 or tribunal@lso.ca.

It’s best to be prepared for your internet to fail – plan for alternative solutions, such as using your phone’s hot spot, a mobile internet stick, or a friendly neighbour. Be prepared with call-in numbers to join the hearing by telephone in the event that you unexpectedly cannot get an internet source to work. 

If you get out of the Zoom screen while attending a hearing, this may mean that you have minimized the program.  Please find the Zoom icon at the bottom of your screen on the taskbar (Windows) or apps bar (MAC), and click on it to get it back up.

If you closed the Zoom window, inadvertently click on “Leave the meeting” or briefly lose internet connection, you may rejoin the hearing by clicking on the link in the meeting invitation. The Host will admit you back into the hearing.

Waiting Room

Attendees will be held in the virtual Waiting Room upon entry.  The Host (the File Management Coordinator) will admit entry to the hearing.

Screen Options

There are two options: Speaker View and Gallery View.  To switch between these two views use the icon is at the top right corner. Please use the Gallery View.  In the Gallery View, the yellow border will indicate who is speaking. See images below.


Please MUTE your microphone for the entire hearing until you are called upon to speak.  This way, we can avoid background noises while the speaker is speaking. To mute or unmute your microphone, click on the microphone icon at the bottom left of the screen.

Alternatively, you may press Alt + A to mute your microphone.

Presenting Documents

If a party would like to display a document during the hearing, be sure to have the document open on your desktop or mobile device. A participant may use the “Share Screen” option to show all other participants the document being referred to or to direct everyone’s attention to a particular paragraph or sentence.

Before the hearing, parties should provide the Tribunal with an electronic copy of the document(s) they intend to refer to during the hearing. This way, the File Management Coordinator can ensure the panel has the document(s).

Alternatively, you may press Alt + S to share your screen.

Communicating with the FMC

You may use the CHAT feature to communicate with the File Management Coordinator during a hearing. Your messages will not be seen by everyone, only the File Management Coordinator.

Breakout Rooms

If you need to use a breakout room, please let the FMC know and he/she will coordinate moving you to a designated virtual breakout room separate from the main session. Breakout rooms will not be available after the hearing has ended. No one outside the breakout room can see or hear what is happening in the breakout room.


Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, directed by the panel, or as appropriate in response to any accommodation or related issues, a witness should be alone in the room while giving evidence.

Affirmations or oaths will be administered by the chair of the panel as in the usual course. Witnesses will be asked to swear or affirm that are alone and not communicating with anyone while giving testimony. Witnesses are asked to take all measures necessary to ensure the integrity of the testimony and the proceedings.

Witnesses should not to look at or make reference to notes or any other documents or material (electronic, physical or other), unless directed to do so by a representative of one of the parties or the panel.


If, during the hearing, the panel directs that specific documents be made exhibits, the FMC will affix an electronic exhibit stamp to the document to clearly mark it as an exhibit.

Public Gallery

If a member of the public would like to attend a Zoom hearing, please notify the Tribunal prior to the hearing by e-mailing us at tribunal@lso.ca and we will provide connection information.

To help minimize the number of interruptions, members of the public should connect to the hearing at least 5 minutes before the start time. If you join Zoom after the hearing has started, you may not be admitted right away.

Please ensure that your video is turned off and that you are muted before entering.

Leave Meeting

Attendees can leave the meeting by using the LEAVE MEETING icon at the bottom right of the screen. The File Management Coordinator can also end the meeting for everyone.

Participants’ responsibilities

In order to ensure that the hearing is uninterrupted, please take all reasonable measures to ensure that you have arranged for appropriate child care, notified family and friends that you are unavailable during the hearing, and turned off or silenced any devices not being used for the hearing.

The Tribunal recognizes that participants do not have the advantage of appearing in a controlled courtroom environment and may be situated in small, shared living spaces. We anticipate and understand that there may be some unavoidable interruptions from children, pets, other people or background noises.

Please wait until you are called on before speaking, and allow each participant to finish their comment or statement before responding. 

You, or anyone on your behalf, may not record audio or video or screen capture any portion of the hearing. In the event that you learn of a recording of a Zoom hearing, you will take immediate measures to destroy the recording and will not share the recording to any third parties. You further agree that you will not transmit a live or deferred video or audio relay of the hearing to third parties.

Guiding principles and accommodation needs

These Guidelines are also not intended as a “one size fits all”. Parties and adjudicators may wish to modify these guidelines to suit the specific matter they are dealing with.

Nothing in these guidelines affects any powers the adjudicator has under legislation or the Tribunal Rules of Practice and Procedure.

It is important to recognize that, at present hearing participants will generally be working from home and dealing with issues such as child and elder care. These issues will require flexibility both in advance of and in the course of the hearing. It may be appropriate for a modified structure of the normal hearing day to be put in place. Any other accommodations will also be addressed as in the normal course.

The Tribunal’s videoconference proceedings will be consistent with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, ensuring that the parties have a sufficient opportunity to present evidence and argument.