Accommodation and Accessibility

Accommodation is an individualized provision that is enacted once an individual with a disability makes a request for an accommodation.  Accessibility is “the proactive identification and mediation of barriers to anticipate and welcome members of our diverse community and increase accessibility for all” (Forward with FLEXibility, 2017).

While the process of accommodation is triggered by an individual requesting specific alterations to a program, service, or workstation, accessibility is the process of proactively identifying and eliminating barriers for all members of the campus community including persons with disabilities. Rather than focusing strictly on end-goals and absolute solutions, accessibility shifts our focus to a cyclical process where barriers are anticipated, mediated to the best of our abilities, and reflected upon to then influence anticipating and mediating further barriers (Forward with FLEXibility, 2017).

For a detailed look at accessibility and how it specifically applies to the teaching and learning environment, please visit our new e-book,  Forward with FLEXibility: A Teaching and Learning Resource on Accessibility and Inclusion. This resource, while specific to Accessible Education, offers a principled approach to the adoption of an accessibility lens that can be adapted to a number of environments where the proactive identification and mediation of barriers need to be considered, including:

  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Meetings
  • Tutorials and Labs
  • Events and event planning
  • Conferences and conference planning
  • Volunteer, staff and faculty training

Please visit the FLEXForward resource e-book to learn more about the exciting and endless possibilities of integrating accessibility into your life as a student, staff member or faculty member at McMaster University.

AccessMac Program

Advancing accessibility and inclusion at McMaster University

What do we do?

We form deliberate and strategic partnerships with faculty, staff and students in order to create and maintain a culture of accessibility and inclusion on campus.

Our Portfolio:

  • Ensuring that the University is meeting its compliance obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
  • Advising and working collaboratively to create accessible and inclusive programs, services, classrooms and workplaces.
  • Providing workshops and training opportunities on accessibility, the duty to accommodate, McMaster University’s Accessibility Policy and the AODA.
  • Communicating to the McMaster community about the various roles and responsibilities we individually and collectively must carry out to meet and go beyond AODA compliance requirements.

Contact us when you:

  • Are looking for information on accessibility-related promising practices.
  • Have questions about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
  • Want to understand your rights as a student/employee who identifies as having a disability.
  • Need guidance on rights and responsibilities concerning disability-related accommodation.
  • Are interested in:
    • Attending a workshop to learn more about accessibility; and/or
    • Getting connected to disability-related groups and activities on campus
  • Want to get involved with supporting AccessMac.

Accessibility in the Libraries

The McMaster Libraries have a number of accessibility services for students. The staff in Library Accessibility Services work with publishers to acquire both required and supplementary texts in a variety of alternate formats, assist students with research, arrange to have books retrieved, assist with photocopying, and provide access to bookable study rooms equipped with assistive technologies.

Library Accessibility Services is located on the second floor of Mills Library.

McMaster’s Accessibility Video


McMaster Accessibility Council Terms of Reference

All-Genders Washrooms Brochure

The guide below details what all-genders washrooms are, why they are essential to an equitable university environment, and where to find all of the current all-genders washrooms at McMaster

Accessible Social Media

Check out this excellent McMaster resource for creating accessible social media for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and more!

How to Register for FLEX Forward Accessible Education Training

The training consists of three steps that you will need to complete: Registering in Mosaic; reading the FLEX Forward e-book; and completing the end quiz on Avenue to Learn.

Making Your Talk Accessible

This information paper describes some common inaccessible practices for giving presentations at conferences or in the classroom and how to address and remove common presentation barriers

Enhancing the Accessibility of Technology in the Classroom

This downloadable handout will provide you with basic steps, instructions and resources to enhancing the accessibility of technology commonly used in the classroom.

Service Disruption Template

Use this template to report a service disruption and to notify campus and community members that a service or facility is temporarily unavailable.

Accessibility Checklist

The Accessibility Checklist is designed to help event organizers plan accessible events. For further information, contact or 905-525-9140 ext. 24644

McMaster University Accessibility Plan 2012-2025

This plan outlines McMaster University's accessibility-related accomplishments and identifies additional steps required to ensure that McMaster University is a fully accessible campus by the year 2025.


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Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

RISO provides students with information about how to request academic accommodations for their religious, Indigenous and spiritual observances

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Employment Equity Statement

McMaster University's commitment to building a diverse, fair, and inclusive community.

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Policy and Procedures on Employment Accommodation

This policy is currently under review and has been removed from the active website. Any questions related to employment accommodation should be directed to the Human Resources Department.

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McMaster University Policy on Accessibility

This policy is currently under review.  When completed, it will articulate McMaster University's commitment to accessibility and legislative compliance in adherence with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

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McMaster University Statement on Building an Inclusive Community with a Shared Purpose

McMaster University strives to embody the values of respect, collaboration and diversity in order to build and inclusive community.

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Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities Policy

This Policy provides comprehensive information regarding the provision of academic accommodations for McMaster University students with disabilities.

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Policy on Discrimination and Harassment: Prevention & Response

McMaster University is committed to fostering a respectful and inclusive organizational culture in which all members of the campus community are able to work, study, and live free of discrimination and harassment.


McMaster Accessibility Council 2016-17 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Publication of the Accessible Education Resource (Forward with Flexibility)
  • Establishment of McMaster Employee Accessibility Network
  • Revamp of the AODA and Human Rights Code Training
  • Launch of the new Accessibility Hub website
  • Ongoing updates to the McMaster Accessibility Poicy
  • Hiring of the Web Accessibility Specialist

McMaster Accessibility Council 2015-2016 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Enabling access to SensusAccess for automatic conversion of documents to accessible formats
  • Tools now in place to support captioning of all newly created videos used administratively and academically
  • Accessible Teaching and Learning Project
  • Web Accessibility Project

McMaster Accessibility Council 2014-2015 Report

Highlights from this report:

  • New Integrated Science lab
    • First lab on campus designed with accessibility in mind
  • McMaster Student Union (MSU) implemented an MSU Accessibility Policy
  • Closed Captioning Working Group
  • Web Accessibility Advisory Group
  • UTS created a Web Accessibility Course 

McMaster Accessibility Council 2013-2014 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Anne Pottier stepped in as Chair of the MAC Council
  • 21, 134 member of the McMaster community have taken training 
  • Human Resources implemented the inclusion of a statement of accommodation to McMaster email signatures and have encouraged its use by staff and faculty

McMaster Accessibility Council 2012-2013 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Approximately 16, 608 members of the McMaster community have taken Customer Service Training
  • Creation of the McMaster University Accessibility Plan (2012-2025)
  • Approval of $334, 200 for accessibility-related capital projects
  • Facility Services accessibility audit of public spaces

McMaster Accessibility Council 2011-2012 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Approximately 14,000 members of McMaster have taken the Customer Service training
  • Special attention to efforts of McMaster Libraries in providing notice of Service Disruptions
  • Budget Committee approved $334, 200 for accessibility-related capital projects

McMaster Accessibility Council 2010-2011 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Full implementation of Customer Service training;  Approximately 10,500 members of McMaster have taken training
  • $200, 000 approved by the Budget Committee to address accessibility around campus
  • Endorsement to create Accessibility Specialist position

McMaster Accessibility Council 2009-2010 Annual Report

Highlights from this report:

  • Development of the first University Accessibility Policy
  • Implementation of the AODA Customer Service Standard Training
  • 4800+ employees/other members trained by July 29, 2010
  • First version of the Accessibility Hub website


Equity and Inclusion Office

The Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO) works with campus and community partners to ensure that McMaster University is a place where all students, staff and faculty are treated equitably and respectfully in all areas of campus life.


MSU Maccess is a community, peer support, and advocacy outlet for students with disabilities and disabled students. Members may identify with any of the following disability, chronic illness, mental illness, madness, mental health concerns, neurodivergence, and additional identities that are part of the larger disability rights movement.

Student Accessibility Services

Student Accessibility Services is committed to respecting, supporting, and celebrating the diversity of all people within the McMaster University community. Visit or contact SAS in the basement of the McMaster University Student Centre for more information on receiving support for accommodations.


Located within the Equity and Inclusion Office, AccessMAC works to advance accessibility on-campus.

Library Accessibility Services

Visit Library Accessibility Services on the second floor of Mills library for assistance with accessible formats for books, book retrieval, access to assistive technologies and more!

Paul R. MacPherson Institute

Contact the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning for assistance with course design, re-design, delivery, assessment, as well as for instructional skill and accessibility workshops.