Equity, unlike the notion of equality, is not about sameness of treatment. Equity denotes fairness and justice in process and in results. Equitable outcomes often require differential treatment and resource redistribution so as to achieve a level playing field among all individuals and communities. This requires recognizing and addressing barriers to to provide opportunity for all individuals and communities to thrive in our University environment. Several variations on the images shown below are sometimes used to illustrate the meaning and implications of equity.

Three images side by side: first, three people of different heights try to watch a baseball game through a wooden fence. Second, the two shorter people stand on boxes so they can all see the game. Third, the fence is changed to chain-link so everyone can see the game without needing to stand on boxes.

Two images side by side: first, one taller person, one shorter person, and one person in a wheelchair try to watch a baseball game through a wooden fence, with the person in the wheelchair's view completely blocked. Second, the shorter person is standing on boxes to help them see and the person on the wheelchair has a ramp to help them see.


Diversity describes the presence of difference within any collection of people. In discussions of social equity, diversity addresses differences in social group membership related, for example, to race, Indigenous identity, class, gender identity or expression, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, and religion. Discussions about diversity linked to access and equity require knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary experiences of oppression and exclusion.

It’s important to think of diversity as uniting rather than dividing. Diversity means appreciating our differences but also our interconnectedness, recognizing systemic and institutionalized discrimination, and building relationships across our differences. That can be challenging, but it’s worth it. While appreciating social difference is important, a commitment to diversity should prompt us also to acknowledge all the things that connect us.


Inclusion refers to the notion of belonging, feeling welcome, having a sense of citizenship, and the capacity to engage and succeed in a given institution, program, or setting. Inclusion calls for recognizing, reducing, and removing barriers to participation and belonging, sometimes entailing the change or reimagination of such institutions, programs, or settings. Inclusion means welcoming and valuing all members of our University community.


McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous peoples whose presence marks this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

For more information about traditional territory and tips on how to make a land acknowledgement, visit our Land Acknowledgement webpage.

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