Accommodation is a means of preventing and removing barriers that impede full participation and access based on the prohibited grounds of discrimination. It is not a courtesy or a favour, nor is it a lowering of academic or employment standards.  Accommodation is the recognition that individuals may require some adjustments in order to support their performance on the job or in the classroom.

The provision of an accommodation is based on 3 principles:

  • Dignity
  • Individualization
  • Inclusion

Providing an accommodation is a shared responsibility between the individual requesting the accommodation and the individual providing the accommodation. While the principles stated above apply in all cases, the nature of an accommodation is specific to the individual making the request and should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The duty to accommodate arises most frequently in relation to

  • Disability
  • Religion/Creed
  • Sex (pregnancy) and/or
  • Family Status
  • Gender identity/gender expression

For the purposes of this website, accommodation is addressed in relation to disability.



The goal of accommodation is to allow equal benefit from and participation in services and programs such as education and in the workplace. The Duty to Accommodate is enshrined in human rights legislation in every jurisdiction in Canada (e.g. Ontario Human Rights Code and Canadian Human Rights Act).

The Duty to Accommodate is intended to further society's commitment to equality and implies a duty of fairness so that disadvantaged groups can participate fully in the life of the community. Organizations such as McMaster University are obliged to accommodate up to the point of undue hardship.

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission there are only 3 factors that can be considered regarding undue hardship:

Cost:  A cost is "undue" when it is so high that it effects the survival or changes the essential nature of the organization. However, in the case of a large organization such as McMaster University, it is unlikely that cost will be determined to be a reasonable consideration for not providing an accommodation.

Outside sources of funding:  When assessing "undue hardship", organizations are required to consider the availability of external sources of funding such as government grants or loans which could offset accommodation costs.

Health and Safety:  If an accommodation creates health and/or safety risks for the individual and/or others, it may not be provided on the basis of "undue hardship".

If the University fails to accommodate, the burden of proof is on the University to explain why. An internal mechanism for addressing the failure to accommodate is the McMasterPolicy on Discrimination and Harassment: Prevention & Response, which is administered by the Office of Equity and Inclusion. For more information about this process, please visit the EIO website.

Providing Academic Accommodations Providing Workplace Accommodations Obtaining An Accommodation


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.