How to Tax Registrants for your Virtual Event

Conferences and Events have moved online en masse and taxation in the digital realm is not quite the same as an in person event. With In-Person Events, the service was offered in a physical location and the taxation rates for that location are applicable. For example, if you held a conference in Montreal, QST and GST are applicable, while a conference held in Toronto, HST (13%) is the applicable tax rate. But what happens when the delegate is watching from their home? Where is the event actually being held? Where it is recorded? Where it is watched? And as such, which taxes apply?

Place of Supply

Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Quebec both consider the Place of Supply for a virtual event as the invoiced person’s address. As such, taxation by registrant location is the proper taxation format for a Virtual Event. If you have attendees in all 10 provinces, you need to be charging the tax rate of the delegates location. The service being taxed is considered to be where the delegate is watching, not where it is being sent from. So, 3 people from 3 provinces watching the same event need to be taxed their 3 different rates. Here is one example of digital content outlined by CRA:

Example 46
An individual purchases a digital music album from an online vendor based in Ontario. There are no restrictions on where the intangible personal property can be used in Canada. As part of the purchase process, the supplier only obtains the individual’s home address in British Columbia.

The Canadian rights in respect of the intangible personal property can be used less than primarily in the participating provinces and less than primarily outside the participating provinces. Also, in the ordinary course of its business, the supplier only obtains a home address of the recipient in Canada that is in British Columbia and the intangible personal property can be used in British Columbia. The supply of the intangible personal property is therefore made in British Columbia and subject to HST at a rate of 12%.

Using myConferenceSuite to Tax by Location

myConferenceSuite does extend the ability to set tax by location. Within the Finance Settings of the platform, simply Click Project/Finance and then Tax Settings. This will allow you to set tax rates for each province as well as tax exempt for foreign registrants.

myConferenceSuite’s tax table

Check your rules and where you are registered

What types of tax to collect is another labyrinth of rules and regulations. In British Columbia for example, BC Businesses who were PST exempt for in person festivals, were assessed the PST when they moved their business online because the province determined a Virtual Event was a telecommunications service and thus subject to the PST portion of the tax. As for an Ontario business selling in British Columbia, for example, the only tax applicable for CRA is the 5% GST, as long as the Ontario Buisness is not registered with the province of British Columbia-if it is, it needs to tax the PST portion to the registrant as well. Confused? In the simplest of terms, if you are an event organizer putting on a virtual event, and you are registered in one Province, you need to collect the HST from each registration from a participating province at the rate identified for each province. If the registration is in a province that is non-participating, meaning they don’t charge HST, you only need to collect the GST not the PST. The table above shows the correct tax rates for an Ontario Business registered only in Ontario selling access to a virtual event across Canada. Here is the CRA “Place of Supply” Rules for collecting tax:

  • 5% GST rate if the supply is made in a non-participating province
  • 13% HST rate if the supply is made in the participating province of Ontario
  • 15% HST rate if the supply is made in any other participating province

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Digital, In-Person, Hybrid and Everything In Between. Events are about to be transformed

We’ve all learned how to deliver events and content digitally and there have been some very welcome developments in doing so.  The pandemic of the past year and a half has given Event Planners and Suppliers the opportunity to learn a new way to engage and with the return of live conferences and events, better options exist for their Audience.

A Hybrid event is simply a conference, seminar, or other event that is delivering both in-person and online digital experiences.  They don’t necessarily have to include all the same content and there are many different ways to do one.  Inherently Hybrid events also can better deliver better reach, Improved ROI and Data than in person events.

A case study:  The Multi Location Hybrid Event

  • 8 regional locations for delegates to select from
  • Online and in person viewing options

MyConferenceSuite has been working with a government client delivering a hybrid multi location event for a number of years, predating all the events surrounding covid.  The model was very simple-a multi regional conference in 8 locations across Canada with some live and some online sessions.  Speaker 1 could be in New Brunswick delivering live while audiences in Ottawa and Vancouver watched on screen.  Speaker 2 from Ottawa, Speaker 3 from Vancouver etc…  Some sessions were in person, some were onscreen.  Some audience members were online only.  This model delivers several advantages and efficiencies to both event organizers and delegates.   For the delegate, they receive more choice in how, when and where they get their content.  For the organizer, they offer more opportunity to engage a larger audience by providing more choice.   Certainly, there are more challenges in working with multiple venues, but in this era of restricted travel, coupled with demand to meet in person, the Multi Location Hybrid event is an optimal solution.

Some great tips to consider:

Recording Sessions

A more simple way to deliver a hybrid model would be to host an in person event and simply record sessions for a) livestreaming or b)eLearning options for your delegates.  Most virtual events are selling  recorded content after the event.  Offering a video library of education from your conference for sale as individual sessions is a great way to Maximize the return on your virtual or hybrid event.

 Sponsor Engagement

Tradeshows work well in person but they don’t always translate well online.  Engaging your sponsors in a better way is almost a requirement for virtual and hybrid events.  The best ways we’ve seen clients engage sponsors are more than just providing a virtual booth but also allowing them to introduce session content or to weave them into the plenary program in short but effective means.  Sponsors want exposure and there is no better way to give that to them than through engagement with the conference program

Segment Specific Experiences

There are no rules in delivering content virtually and in person.  And that extends to content.  Many conferences have different attendee type and different session content.  Some of these groups have different needs and as such, some content is better delivered virtually while other content is better in person.  Consider how your audience wants to view certain segments of your content and consider offering one type virtually and another in person

Pricing Models

One of the biggest factors in a successful conference is your budget.  Delivering Hybrid conferences can really present a true view of associated costs.  As event organizers, you want to maximize your return on the event and as such, need to consider these service delivery costs when creating your pricing.  Consider an in person ticket type, a virtual ticket type and an option to experience both.  Many delegates will jump at the opportunity to view concurrent sessions online after seeing only 1 in person.  This choice benefits the delegate but it can create revenue opportunity for the event organizer.


Expand your reach by creating digital snippets of conference content to use as marketing material-displayed to social networks.  This is a great way to expand the impact your content can have.  Livestream a snip of your keynote to Facebook Live so everyone knows what it is they are missing. 

Your Virtual Portal is now your community Hub

One of the most exciting prospects of the virtual event portal, like myConferenceSuite’s is the ability to create a 365 day a year hub for your audience.  Social Feeds, Chat groups, even networking sessions can be run 365 days a year on the backdrop of your annual conference portal and content.  The elements of time can be completely removed and the opportunities to better use your virtual portal exist when you consider the possibilities it can provide!

The technology to put it all together

All of these virtual and hybrid event concepts sound fantastic but the technology needs to be there to support you in implementing these great ideas.  At myconferenceSuite we are working to constantly deliver the software and hardware solutions you need to deliver a great hybrid solution.  This tech includes:

  • Our Virtual Portal-a great spot for delegates to engage and learn online
  • Our Event App-delivering the connection between your online and in person Audience
  • Eposters-Present your research in person with our iKiosk solutions and online using our interactive eposter module
  • Video Production-at myConferenceSutie we can deliver your livestream and recorded content and assist with video production.  We also engage our network of partners to ensure quality webcasting, recording, simultaneous interpretation is available.

Digital is here to stay.  Delivering your content and engaging with your audience through various mediums will be the norm.  Digital experiences will continue to grow into the future and offering that choice via hybrid events is just one way to ensure you are achieving the reach you need to connect with your audience.

myConferenceSuite adds a host of new Features to its Virtual Platform

The dev team at D. E. Systems has been hard at work building out its virtual portal with an eye on current needs as well as future requirements for meetings and events in a digital and virtual environment. First and Foremost, we revised our streaming page layout. The new Layout incorporates a host of new features outlined below.

Here’s a quick list of the latest updates to the platform:

Slido Integration– Embedded Slido voting is now built right into the session pages, as a tab, alongside the group chat and users list. This gives delegates quick access to vote on polls while watching a livestream or recorded session.

Sponsor and Exhibitor Pages-Always a tough concept to relay in a virtual space, the myConferenceSuite Portal now has dedicated pages for sponsors and exhibitors. Each page contains the ability for Sponsors to insert Logos, Videos (as many files as they like), Files, Contact and Social Links, Bio and for interactivity, the ability to video chat and chat. There is also a public Q and A for each sponsor page.

Session Evaluations-In addition to the standard conference evaluation on the top navigation menu, Session evaluations are now embedded directly in the session page. This allows for a greater response rate on conference content.

What’s On– A quick button to press to see what is currently running in the platform and what is next upcoming.

Virtual Lobby-this concept is still evolving but we do accommodate a customized landing page for any conference-embedded Auction pages, networking links to platforms like, Sponsor Pages and Links, intro videos, even a navigation map or highlights etc.. all can greet the delegate when they arrive on the platform.

ePoster Layouts-We now have a host of different layouts to choose from for managing eposters. Printed with Chat, Video with Chat or Printed and Video Poster layouts will help delegates navigate your presented poster content with ease. Filtering, Tracks and Search are also a key feature of our eposters module.

We could not be more excited for what lies ahead as our platform grows and evolves to meet the needs of conference and event organizers in this new digital environment.

1-1 Video Chat and Private Chat Features added in myConferenceSuite’s Virtual Portal

myConferenceSuite’s Virtual Portal has added 2 great features to the mix. 1-1 Video chat allows participants in the video portal to private video chat with one another while simultaneously watching a video stream. Keynote or Session. Its like sitting next to your favourite colleague at a conference and watching the keynote together. In addition to video chat, myConferenceSuite also added regular private chat functionality to compliment the group chat feature on the streaming pages.

In order to initiate a private video chat while watching a livestream with a large audience, simply search for the user by clicking the users tab, then selecting either the Speech Balloon icon next to the person you want to share a written chat with or select the camera icon to initiate a private Video chat with the user. The video chat will open a separate window which can allow you to use simultaneously while watching the livestream in another browser window. The 1-1 Video chat really allows for spontaneous conversations within the virtual portal and is a feature that the team at myConferenceSuite is very excited to be sharing in this most recent software release.

Looking ahead the dev team will be adding more functionality and more features to the portal with a keen eye on creating a digital experience to compliment live events in addition to offering a virtual alternative.

Virtual Meeting Tips for Participants and Presenters

There are many tips for participating in virtual meetings available on the internet. Here is a list of those we have found helpful.  


Check your background – before signing onto the meeting, turn on your camera and check what is behind you. While some virtual meeting tools offer backgrounds, others don’t, so you want to make sure your background isn’t too distracting.  

Lighting – Avoid backlighting. The light source should always come from in front of you. For example, if you can, face a window and allow the natural light to shine on you. If the window or light source is behind you, it creates a silhouette effect that means other participants can’t see your face.  

Raise your computer – Have your camera at eye level, or a little above. Looking directly at your camera, or slightly up at it, is more flattering than looking down. And, while difficult, try to look at the camera as much as possible. This gives everyone a sense of participation. 

Dress – From the waist up, at the very least, dress for success.  

Mute your microphone – The amount of background noise computer microphones pick up is quite amazing and can be very distracting to everyone else on the call. When not speaking, have your microphone muted.  

Frame yourself – When positioning the camera or your computer, the best view is to see your head and shoulders. You don’t want to be too close to the camera, where just your head is seen. Back away from the camera to show your shoulders too. This allows us to see some of your body language and avoids the ‘talking head’ picture. 


Along with the tips above, here are some key pointers for presenters themselves. 

Prepare – Log in 15 to 30 mins prior to your presentation. Often, software updates can happen the next time you use your software, or you may have a new application to use. Logging in early will ensure you have the proper software updated or downloaded in order participate. 

Imagine – Many presenters feel nervous about presenting online. Not having the audio and visual feedback from a live audience can be intimidating. To alleviate this, as you look into the camera, imagine presenting to one ideal audience member, someone you know would benefit from this information. 

Use Mixed Media – With content, variety is key. There are many options and Screensharing, links, images, videos and slides are all options. Using a variety of different media types will keep your audience interested and informed. Be careful with slides though; don’t overwhelm them with text and don’t use too many.  

Be interactive – When possible, use Polling, Live Q&A’s or chat’s to keep your audience engaged.  This will make your audience feel like they are there with you.  

Use a moderator – Depending on your level of comfort with technology, you may wish to use a moderator to assist with your presentation. They can field incoming questions or run the Polling. If the moderator is assisting with the presentation itself, be sure to rehearse in advance.  

Stand – Delivering your message as if you were with them in a conference room on stage. Your body language, natural hand movements and enthusiasm will come through. 

Give Eye Contact – Look at the camera. Try not to look at your notes or the screen too much. Looking directly at the camera will give your audience a sense of inclusion. 

Have fun – if you are having fun, your audience is having fun.  

Virtual Education-Providing Flexibility for your Audience

In the race to go virtual, education based conferences and events are being presented with huge opportunities to offer video on demand for their audience.  Live Stream and pre-recorded education sessions can be offered on an ongoing basis with the simple addition of a video library to your Virtual Portal. 

There has never been a better time to offer video on Demand as part of your revenue stream.  The online audience has grown exponentially in 2020 and will keep growing in the years to come as we all learn new ways to deliver education and content. 

Monetization of your education through a platform like myConferenceSuite’s Virtual Portal is quick and easy.  Users can register, pay, and have instant access to your library of content.  If you are an association, you can record your conference content; offer it to members throughout the year and monetize to non-members across the world through paid access. 

Here are some great tips for building and monetizing your Video Library-

  • Define your niche.  For many associations, their niche is an inherent choice since the association itself may be the niche.  But even within these narrowly defined groups, there are categories that are appealing.  Identifying what your audience wants to see is key. 
  • Build your audience and know your potential.  Understanding Demand for your content is the first step but knowing where that demand resides is as important.  If you are to market your video content, know how to reach your existing market but also know where your potential market can be accessed.  Promotion to your target and potential target audiences is a critical step in successful  monetization of your virtual library
  • Leverage Social Media-Posting your content on Youtube will not yield any direct revenues for your video content, but posting teasers on Youtube and social media to draw viewers to your paid content is smart marketing.  Leverage the platforms that your users engage with teaser content that can direct them to your paid content.
  • Subscriptions and Memberships yield long term relationships.  Use your paid content as a vehicle to build a long term relationships.  Allowing your target market to opt for membership or subscription to access content vs just watching a single paid video can yield a great recurring revenue stream for your company or organization.
  • Build a Smart and Sustainable Payment Structure.  Sell your content via subscriptions or memberships and offering single viewing options might be 2 ways to monetize.  Engaging other stakeholders like sponsors or advertisers can also yield revenue streams for your channel.
  • Roll out your content in a timely manner.  Offering ongoing added content throughout the year might be more effective than offering it all at once.  For example, if you have 12 education based videos to sell, by rolling one out per month, you get 12 opportunities to market your content vs only 1 or 2 by offering it at once. 
  • Organize your Content.  myConferenceSuite’s virtual portal gives you powerful tools to allow for search and categorization of video content.  Sort by themes and categories to give your audience a clear navigation to get the content they really want to see.
  • Customization.   myConferenceSuite allows you to fully brand your virtual portal.  Sell advertising, sponsorship in addition to a robust custom look that defines your brand and identity. 

Delivering education and content through video has never been more in demand.  Make sure you value your content appropriately and don’t undersell it because it is on video and not in a live audience or conference setting.   Content is king when it comes to education.  Leveraging technology to deliver that content to users when they want and leveraging technology to monetize your content is a win-win for all stakeholders. 

Does your current computer hardware meet the technology requirements for virtual meetings?

The move to virtual meetings has changed the type of software and hardware we need in many ways. With the production of livestream and recorded content being the new normal we have all needed to adapt. The job of specialized hardware is now being put in the hands of our trusty home and business computers. Whether you are trying to manage some of your streaming content locally with an audio-visual studio software or integrating with a web distribution tool like MyConferenceSuite’s Virtual Event Platform, Zoom etc., you may quickly find out that your computers are not up to the task. The first thing we might think is internet problems are the cause of jitter and chop but this is frequently just not the case. Unlike single video play back and running presentation software alone, streaming or more specifically software-based encoding and transcoding requires CPU horsepower and the more the better. Enter the mobile workstation, designed for handling graphics and large memory stored data processing, this class of computer has the capacity to take on the task of video and audio encoding with an affordability and flexibility not found with hardware solutions.

Specifications to look for in a computer to be used for more intensive streaming and recording projects:

  • Minimum hex-core CPU
  • Minimum of 16GB of working memory
  • A dedicated GPU with a minimum of 4GB dedicated graphics memory
  • Fast transfer I/O like USB-C and Thunderbolt
  • SSD storage were possible

To prepare your company webinars you may simply need a contemporary laptop with quality webcam and microphone. For web productions, a mobile workstation may be a better fit. At D.E. Systems we have always strived to provide the best suited equipment for your needs and budget, weather you are looking to purchase or rent for your specific event we have the equipment readily available.

Contact us at: T 613.723 1166

Building out our Hybrid Event Framework

As we look ahead to the future of events, it is becoming clear that virtual is here to stay. Offering delegates the opportunity to participate in educational conferences from the comfort of their home or office will be standard. At myConferenceSuite we certainly envision and events future that is hybrid-In person and online. As this model becomes more common, pricing models for event organizers will become more standardized as well as the offerings of a digital participation.

myConferenceSuite’s new virtual portal is still in development but we can share with you a sneak peak. Some of the features include:

  • Welcome Page with sidebar navigation to e-posters, zoom sessions, Agenda, and evaluations.
  • Detailed Session listings and links with speaker bios.
  • Dynamic Session viewing pages with discussion box, video and separate slide deck windows, twitter feed, sponsorship listings and speaker information
  • Zoom connect-list and host networking rooms using zoom technology.

Not only with myConferenceSuite’s virtual portal have the ability to host pre-recorded webinars and content, but it can also embed any livestream production enabling both live and pre-recorded content. One of the main advantages of having a digital presence for your conference content is the access and exposure you can provide both delegates and presenters. In person delegates can access conference content after the event as you are able to leave content up for up as long as you like. And for those participating solely in a virtual format, they can choose the times and locations that best fit their schedules.

myConferenceSuite Virtual Session Listing

Some considerations for event planners considering a hybrid event:

  • Flexible Pricing Model-Don’t devalue your education. In person, Virtual and access to both should be considered.
  • Scheduling. Couple livestream offerings with pre-recorded content. By providing pre-recorded content you remove some of the finite time stress factor that is so common with Events.
  • Open Access-consider leaving content up and accessible. This benefits both researchers/presenters as well as the audience.
  • Sponsorship considerations. Virtual Trade shows are common but they don’t always make a great fit. Find ways to provide good exposure to stakeholders by having them host zoom sessions, sponsor education sessions and allow good multimedia exposure through the platform.

We expect our virtual platform will be fully up and running by end of summer 2020 and we look forward to hosting your content!

Using myConferenceSuite with Zoom and Zoom Breakouts

There has been a massive shift to online meetings brought on by recent events and there is general consensus that when the business and association meetings sector does return to hosting live events; some will remain online. We are all adapting and learning new ways to communicate.

As such, myConferenceSuite is evolving its virtual portal. In addition to boosting our webinar and video hosting capabilities for webinar education events, the team at myConferenceSuite is working with developing Zoom integration into our event virtual portal. Zoom has been a fantastic alternative to live meetings and has some amazing capabilities that can make your online meetings more productive.

The primary reason to use zoom within the myConferenceSuite portal is the ability to monetize your online meeting. Today, we’ll take a look at the Zoom Breakout Feature and demonstrate how it has been used my myConferenceSuite Clients to facilitate both main rooms and sessions in a virtual meeting. Many users of zoom are not aware that the platform accommodates breakout sessions. Have a quick view of the module here:

Of course session selections and breakouts are a basic component of many conferences and events and while there are many virtual conference platform options, zoom offers a simple but comprehensive breakout rooms feature with its pro and business accounts.

myConferenceSuite recently worked with Meeting Professionals International’s Ottawa chapter on using zoom for a virtual event. MPI Ottawa has adopted zoom as a primary engagement tool for connecting members since the COVID19 pandemic eliminated the possibility of live events. They are regularly using the breakout tool for weekly coffee talk meetings but have also taken a dive into hosting a full series of education sessions with multiple zoom links and breakouts. Content and links can be hosted within myConferenceSuite, even secure authenticated access can be provided into a virtual portal with speaker info, agenda and delegate networking links and breakouts using zoom.

Increasingly, meeting and event planners are going to see a variety of collaboration in the virtual space and they are going to be presented with many options for hosting virtual meetings. But it is hard to beat the price point offered by products like zoom. Gotomeeting also provides similar breakout rooms with optional plans.

When we Meet Again: Adding a Health Screen waiver to your Event Registrations

Once the pandemic subsides, in-person meetings and conferences will undoubtedly begin again.  First, it will be smaller events and meetings, likely with social distancing measures and at some point down the line, we will see larger events.  How these events will look and feel is still to be determined as there are still many unknowns. 

How might Registration Systems collaborate and support event organizers as they navigate this new normal?  Adding a Health Waiver as a registration addendum is an excellent way to do due diligence to the health and safety of attendees.  myConferenceSuite has looked at this particular feature and is proposing a simple Health Form, to be sent to all registrants 48 hours prior to arrival at any future event.  Delegates will be required to answer specific questions related to their health before they arrive onsite. 

General questions such as:

  • any current medical conditions
  • Allergies
  • Mobility Issues

And, certainly during this particular period of time, Coronavirus specific questions:

  • Have you come into contact with anyone who has a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?
  • Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms-fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, loss of taste or sense of smell, sore throat?

The delegate would automatically receive this notification to complete the health survey before arrival.  Once onsite, QR coded validation of their registration record will confirm whether they have completed the health waiver.

Enabling a Health Waiver Form is but one way event registration technology can be used to ensure the safety of your delegates.