Directives: Events on campus

Updated: February 5, 2021

Following government directives, all events on our campuses have been cancelled until further notice. For the latest, please check campus operational status here.


  • As on-campus activities gradually ramp-up for the fall 2020 semester, the priority remains to ensure a safe campus environment for all McGill members and visitors. Taking into account the current situation with COVID-19, the University is adopting a phased approach to the resumption of events.
  • Events are defined as the planned and organized assembly of individuals outside of regular academic or curricular, research, or work-related activities.


  • Health and safety of community members is the priority.
  • Ramp-up of on-campus events will be carried out while respecting the constraints of public health authorities and in accordance with government directives.
  • Any event held on campus must be approved by the Emergency Operations Centre, at least during the initial ramp-up period.
  • Events must be compatible with the principles and prevention measures outlined in the Directives: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 on campus This includes but is not limited to:
    • Advising participants of their personal responsibility to be aware of and adhere to all prevention measures in place at McGill.
    • Ensuring that participants are made aware of the screening questions prior to arrival at the event site and are excluded from the activity if they answer Yes to any of the questions.
    • Ensuring 2m physical distancing is maintained throughout the duration of the event.
    • Promoting hand hygiene.
    • While wearing a procedural mask is required when entering and circulating in McGill buildings, masks or face coverings are also recommended for outdoor activities where 2m distancing may be difficult to maintain.
  • Priority will be given to events that promote student and staff wellness.
  • Pre-registration will be required for all events so as to ensure manageable numbers of participants.
  • No alcohol will be allowed for student events until further notice.
  • Activities must minimize the use of shared materials or items.
  • Participants can bring their own food to eat provided the 2m physical distancing is maintained. Until further notice, activities cannot involve serving, preparing, or sharing food.
  • External (i.e. events not organized by the University or one of its recognized student associations) events will not be authorized until further notice.
  • In-person Frosh and related activities will not be authorized for Fall 2020.
  • Event organizers are responsible for:
    • completing a safety plan for their event;
    • ensuring that all prevention measures are adhered to;
    • ensuring that all attendees are made aware of prevention measures, including the procedure to follow in the case of onset of COVID-19 symptoms;
    • managing pre-registration of participants and maintaining a list of all event attendees and be able to provide this list upon request in the event that contact tracing is required;
    • being aware of how to deal with someone who develops COVID-19 symptoms at the event (see below).
  • All events must have one or several COVID-19 Safety Ambassador(s) identified. These individuals must:
  • We are all agents of public health and thus share the responsibility for maintaining a safe and healthy campus community. As per McGill’s Internal Responsibility System everyone at McGill University, no matter their role or title, is expected to adhere to health and safety directives and promote a safe campus environment.
  • Members of the McGill community attending events must adhere to all applicable safety directives; failure to comply may result in disciplinary action.
  • An evaluation of the current directives, as well as changes in government directives, will determine the next phases of resumption, which may include the cancellation of all events.

Limited Outdoor Events (max 25 people)

  • Aim: to minimize social isolation by providing opportunities for McGill members to connect in-person in a safe manner.
  • Small-scale activities (25 people or less) can be authorized.
    • Due to traffic on the downtown campus, Three Bares Park, and Lower Field - East will be considered preferred locations.
    • The preferred location for Macdonald campus is McEwen Rugby Field.
  • Outdoor events can be requested for Monday to Friday between 08h00 and 17h00
  • Small-scale activities are defined as those that do not require additional University resources beyond those outlined here:
    • Garbage pickup following the event
    • Installation of portable hand sanitizer station(s) (at the organizer’s expense)
  • Locations for outdoor events must have prevention measure signage clearly posted for participant reference. The designated space must also be cordoned off to control and manage access.
  • No installation of tents or other infrastructure – events must be low-impact.
  • Activities will need to be cancelled in the event of inclement conditions. A plan to switch to a virtual event should be developed for this eventuality.
  • In light of the progressive and gradual nature of resumption, the number of approved events per day will be limited based on the type, duration and scale of the event.
  • Please note that access to washrooms for outdoor events is not guaranteed, as buildings remain on card access only. 

Approvals Process for outdoor events

The approval process involves two steps with the aim of reducing the amount of wasted effort for organizers whose events do not fit the above principles and priorities.

Step 1:

  • The organizer must complete the File Outdoor Event Initial Request to provide a brief overview of their proposed activity
  • This overview will be reviewed by the EOC Events Subcommittee and a response provided within 5 working days – the response will either be provisional approval or refusal

Step 2:

  • If the activity is provisionally approved, planning can proceed, and the organizer must then submit a full plan for EOC review and approval. This plan must include:
    • Requestor details
    • Detailed description of proposed activity
    • Proposed date, time, and location
    • Audience and maximum participants
    • Detailed safety plan including how the following will be addressed:
      • pre-registration of participants
      • participant check-in at the site
      • access control for the site
      • ensuring 2m physical distancing
      • promotion of hand hygiene
      • prevention measures signage
      • safety ambassador(s) – who and how many

Draft communication to participants informing them of safety measures in place – including the screening questions – and their responsibilities for adhering to these measures.

Indoor Events

  • Until further notice, indoor events will not be authorized. EOC is continuing to look at how these events can be authorized in future.

Off-campus Events

  • For McGill-sponsored off-campus events, please reach out to the Emergency Operations Centre at emergency.mgmt [at] to discuss planning considerations.

Dealing with someone who develops COVID-19 symptoms at an event

Guidance for dealing with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms are part of the Directives: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 on campus. Additional considerations:

  • Event organizers are responsible for having medical masks that can be provided in this eventuality.
  • For outdoor events, the ill individual must be separated from the rest of the participants, provided with a medical mask (i.e. procedural or surgical mask) and directed to call 1-877-644-4545 for instructions.

Upon notification of a participant with COVID-19 symptoms, the organizers must end the event immediately. All other participants should be directed to monitor themselves for symptoms and call 1-877-644-4545 if necessary.

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