BIRS Hybrid Workshops

On September 15th, 2021 the Alberta Government introduced a new Restriction Exemption Program. BIRS and the Banff Centre will be implementing this program. As a result, in-person BIRS participants will be required to show either proof of vaccination, a document of medical exemption, or a negative COVID‐19 rapid test (within the last 72 hours) to attend in-person BIRS events. For more information visit:

Alberta Government Restriction Exemption Program

Banff Centre Covid-19 Guidelines (September 17, 2021)

Information for Organizers

The in-person capacity for workshops scheduled to be held in Banff in 2021 and 2022 is 15, including organizers. In-person capacity increases may be granted on a case by case basis. The capacity for online (virtual) attendance is 300.

Organizers should plan coordinated activities that facilitate meaningful interaction and networking between virtual and in-person participants outside of the normal lecture format. For example, informal on-site gatherings such as pub nights, movie screenings or games will be formatted to include virtual participants.

Organizers are expected to communicate with the prospective participants of their workshop and use the most updated information to assign “in-person” or “virtual” status for each invited participant. The in-person assignments are expected to be completed at least three weeks prior to the workshop start date, in order to secure accommodation.

In-person and virtual participant assignments

Organizers must consider whether participants are eligible and willing to travel to Banff when assigning in-person and virtual roles.

On September 7, 2021 Canada will begin allowing non-essential travellers who meet certain conditions to enter the country. Use the following Government of Canada resources to determine if you are eligible to enter Canada:

COVID-19: Entering Canada requirements checklist

Find out if you can enter Canada

For more information about assigning participant roles and inviting your workshop participants, download this document.

Hybrid Scheduling

BIRS working hours are 8:30am – 4:30pm Mountain Time (Banff time). Our Banff facilities and on-site technical support are available during this time. Hybrid style talks should be scheduled to take place within this timeframe.

Talks that are scheduled outside of this timeframe (in order to accommodate time zone challenges) should take place in a purely virtual format (via Zoom).

Organizers who wish to explore a different scheduling format for their hybrid workshop must schedule a meeting with BIRS staff at least 6 weeks prior to the workshop to discuss alternative options. Please e-mail [email protected] to set up a meeting.

On-Site Participants

On-site participants can expect an experience similar to a traditional BIRS workshop. Participants will receive up to date covid-19 policies via e-mail in the weeks leading up to the workshop. For more information about the on-site experience, see our Facilities and Location of BIRS pages.

On-site participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to the lecture hall in order to interact with virtual participants via Zoom chat. To avoid feedback loops please keep your laptop volume off and ensure you are muted in the Zoom session.

Please note: Rooming assignments and on-site amenities are subject to change for fall 2021 and beyond. Please check this web page again as your workshop approaches for the most up-to-date information.

BIRS Guest Arrival Information Brochure

Virtual Participants

Hybrid workshops will allow virtual participants to view the BIRS lecture hall via Zoom, deliver a lecture via Zoom, and interact with in-person participants in real time.

Virtual participants will receive all relevant workshop links via e-mail during the week leading up to the workshop. Virtual participants can expect to join on-site breakout rooms and collaborate with on-site participants.

Interaction Between Virtual and In-Person Participants

BIRS main lecture room (TCPL 201) is outfitted to provide a seamless hybrid workshop experience. Participants both virtual and in person can present to both audiences. In-person participants can provide a lecture that will be broadcast to the Zoom meeting with BIRS automated video system. Virtual participants can present via Zoom and have their presentation projected to the in-person audience. All participants can communicate seamlessly for Q&A and informal discussions.

Hybrid workshop organizers will be asked to plan coordinated activities that facilitate meaningful interaction and networking between virtual and in-person participants outside of the normal lecture format.

Virtual participants can expect to join on-site breakout rooms to collaborate in smaller groups. Please contact BIRS staff ([email protected]) if you need assistance with technology set-up.


Please continue to check this web page, as BIRS will be updating this page with more details on the tools we’ll be providing virtual participants to better engage with the on-site workshop.