COVID-19 and Tech Forum 2020

Updated March 13, 2020: We have decided to cancel this year’s Tech Forum 2020 conference in light of the escalating situation with COVID-19 and its impact on our speakers, partners, and attendees. We appreciate your support of the conference and your understanding while we dealt with this rapidly evolving situation.

All attendees will receive a full refund as soon as possible, likely over the next couple of weeks.

While we won’t be postponing the conference or moving it online, we will be releasing as many of the sessions as possible online as videos or live webinars in the coming weeks. Please make sure you’ve signed up for the Tech Forum mailing list or BookNet Canada’s weekly eNews to hear when they’re released.

Thank you for being a part of Tech Forum 2020. We hope to see you in 2021! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Previous updates:

Updated March 10, 2020. Regarding the current COVID-19 outbreak: Based on current information from public health officials and in discussion with our governing board and conference partners, BookNet Canada is proceeding with Tech Forum 2020 with the health and safety of our attendees, speakers, and staff as our top priority.

On March 6, 2020, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, and Mayor John Tory held a joint press conference to discuss the current situation around COVID-19 in the Greater Toronto Area. Read their statement, and keep up with their updates here.

Prevention tips from Toronto Public Health include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Tech Forum 2020 FAQ

1. What’s the risk level in Toronto?

We are actively monitoring Toronto Public Health and Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines. Officials have confirmed that there are no changes needed for gatherings nor has a mass quarantine been ordered. Other events of this size are going on as planned every day, as are theatres, sporting events, and other gatherings. Travellers continue to visit Toronto daily.

At the World Health Organization press conference, Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours, and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason, and solidarity.”

2. How are you preparing to keep people safe at the conference?

The conference venue is connected to the largest and best hospital network in the country and has been developing new protocol for weeks to better protect visitors to their facility, including regularly disinfecting all podiums, tabletops, microphones, presentation materials, etc. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the building. Meals will be boxed to avoid possibility of cross-contamination.

All travelling speakers and attendees are encouraged to follow any travel advisories in their home countries. As with any illness that has the potential to spread, if you are feeling ill, you should stay home.

We have alternate plans in the works if circumstances change, which we will communicate promptly.

3. Has there been any impact to conference attendance so far?

At this time, no sessions have been cancelled. Remote presentation options are being developed for any speakers who are unable to travel to Toronto. There has been a minor impact on attendance due to registrants whose companies have instituted travel bans, and those who have opted out due to personal preference. The vast majority of attendees and speakers are from Canada, mostly within Ontario, and as such are not being affected by travel restrictions.

4. How many attendees will be flying to Toronto for the conference?

Unlike some larger, international events that have been cancelled or postponed recently, the vast majority of attendees do not travel internationally to attend Tech Forum. In 2019, there were 349 attendees and speakers at Tech Forum & ebookcraft, who hailed from the following countries:

  • 89.4% from Canada
  • 9.2% from the US
  • 1.5% from abroad

We are about on par with these numbers for 2020.

5. Where can I find updates?

We will update this page as new information becomes available. Attendees and speakers of this year’s conference will be emailed directly as needed.

This page may be updated. Please check back regularly — contents are subject to change.