Accessibility Toolkit and Resources
- Accessible Transportation
- Campus and Building Accessibility
- Communication & Language
- Employee Resource Group
- Education and Awareness
- Event Planning
- Teaching and Learning
There are multiple options for travelling to campus. The following accessibility information will help you decide which method is best for you:
The Société de Transport de Montreal (STM) manages the network of buses and metros in the downtown area. You can find information about the accessibility of their bus and metro network (including stations with elevators, and bus stops with wheelchair access), and eligibility for their Paratransit services.
Once you get to campus, if getting to and from different building is a challenge, you can request on-campus adapted transportation – a service run by Campus Security Services (Downtown campus only).
- (Employees) On-campus adapted transportation request
- (Students) On-campus adapted transport authorization request form
As McGill is in the heart of downtown Montreal, parking on or around campus can be a challenge. The following links will help you identify the best parking options for your needs:
- McGill Parking Services: accessible parking spots on the downtown campus. This is a map of the spots reserved for individuals carrying an accessible parking placard (government-issued). As a staff member, you may be eligible for a reduced fee.
- Proximity parking: If you are a staff member and require parking close to your place of work for disability reasons, but do not require an accessible parking spot, you can request this through Human Resources.
- The City of Montreal has also published a list of accessible parking spots in the city, which will help you identify off-campus parking options.
Quebec for All has compiled a list of taxi companies in Montreal that offer accessible transportation services that can help you get around the city.
Campus and Building Accessibility
McGill University is a two-hundred year old institution nested into the side of Mount-Royal, in a city notorious for icy and snowy winters. With those challenges in mind, the university is committed to enhancing the accessibility of its buildings, pathways, and physical spaces (read more in the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan 2020-2025)
Buildings and design
- The Campus Planning and Development Office has integrated accessibility as a key element of its Master Plan, which guides the physical evolution of the university in the short, medium and long-term.
- McGill’s Design Services unit has published a set of comprehensive accessibility design standards, guiding the university in enhancing accessibility as part of their construction or renovation projects.
- The Universal Access Capital Projects Working Group oversees the approval and execution of capital projects that enhance campus accessibility, and regularly issues calls for proposals from the McGill community.
- The Classroom A/V instructions tool allows McGill staff to access photos of classrooms, as well as information about the audiovisual equipment available in the room.
Wayfinding and construction
- The Interactive Accessible Network Map is web tool currently in development. It aims to help access campus spaces and services easily, based on various mobility requirements (e.g. motorized wheelchair, manual wheelchair, assisted walking) It will provide accessible navigation options and building accessibility information while serving as the official McGill map. This tool will be released for use in the Fall 2020 semester.
- Maintaining a historic campus calls for regular construction projects across the university. Construction Services maintains a list of major construction projects on the downtown campus which may affect the routes to or from the buildings you visit. Construction Services works to maintain universal access pathways. If you have an access concern, leave them feedback.
Facilities Call Center
If you are experiencing an accessibility barrier as a result of a leak, elevator problem, electrical problem, painting, carpeting, temperature, etc. contact the Facilities Call Center.
Phone: 514- 398-4555
Email: fcc.fod [at] mcgill.ca
Or use FAMIS to access the Online Service/Work Request form (for both campuses).
Grounds is the unit of Facilities Management and Ancillary Services at McGill that, amongst other things, coordinates the snow removal of McGill’s sidewalks, pathways, terraces, emergency exits, exterior parking lots and roofs. If you need to request a service or report a problem, contact the Facilities Call Center: fcc.fod [at] mcgill.ca or 514-398-4555
Communication & Language
Language is ever-evolving, and the words we choose reflect our thoughts and biases. Some people are unsure what words they should (or shouldn’t) be using to refer to disability. The resources in this section will help you to write inclusively and accessibly. It also introduces other tools or resources that you can use to create accessible communications.
Which option should I choose: person with a disability, or disabled person? These style guides and/or articles outline some of the considerations you should make when writing about disability, and help to demystify the vocabulary of the disability community.
Writing using plain language means that the critical information is accessible to all, and that the reader can easily identify the message you want to convey. Implementing the principles of plain language can reduce the number of clarification questions you receive, and minimizes ambiguity.
- Article by Web Services, "Watch your language! Use plain language to create better websites" (14 Dec, 2020)
- Government of Canada’s Content Style Guide – Plain Language
- The Hemingway Editor App is a tool you can use to improve the clarity of your writing.
- WCAG 2.0 criteria for reading level
McGill provides its students and employees with licenses of Office 365, a suite of tools that allow us to create and share documents. The following resources show you how you can quickly and intuitively ensure that the documents you are creating are accessible to your reader(s).
Interested in learning more about accessibility in Microsoft Office 365? Check out these links:
- An Inclusive, Accessible Office 365
- Course available via Microsoft Learn: Creating Accessible Content with Microsoft 365
- Course available via LinkedIn Learning: Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Office. LinkedIn Learning is available to regular administrative support staff as a pilot project through Organizational Development.
The Quebec’s Office des personnes handicappes has recently published a guide on best practices for document accessibility (currently only available in French): Élaborer et produire des documents accessibles : un guide de bonnes pratiques
Create accessible documents (PDF)
It is easier to create accessible PDFs from the outset, instead of remediating inaccessible PDFs.
- WebAIM: PDF Accessibility
- Creating an accessible PDF from Microsoft Word
- Creating an accessible PDF from Adobe InDesign
- Course available via LinkedIn Learning: Creating Accessible PDFs. LinkedIn Learning is available to regular administrative support staff as a pilot project through Organizational Development.
CART is live transcription provided by an external service provider. These services can be contracted for an event that you are coordinated, and are provided by companies specialized in providing this service. The following companies are listed for informational purposes only, to support you in your search:
The Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada has an online, searchable directory of members who have opted in.
Employee Resource Group
The Accessibility Advisor organizes activities and information sessions for employees with disabilities at McGill. To see upcoming events, or past initiatives you can review the Accessibility Advisor’s Events and Initiatives webpage, or contact her directly at Rachel.desjourdy [at] mcgill.ca
Education and Awareness
A key component of building an inclusive and accessible campus community is learning about what this means in practice and building a personal commitment to learning. There are several options available to help you build your own knowledge and skills:
McGill Equity Team Trainings
- Accessible by Design: Access in the classroom
- Accessible by Design: Access in field courses
- Accommodating employees with disabilities
Stay tuned to the Equity Education website for regular updates and new offerings as they become available.
LinkedIn Learning is available to regular administrative support staff as a pilot project through Organizational Development. Some courses of interest for skill-building are:
- Teaching Techniques: Make Accessible Learning
- UX Foundations: Accessibility
- Accessibility for Web Design
- Advanced Accessible PDFs
- EPUB Accessibility using InDesign
Disability Studies continues to emerge as an interdisciplinary field of scholarly research that examines disability from multiple perspectives. Looking to discover research in this field? Here are a few journals to get your started:
- Canadian Journal of Disability Studies
- Disability Studies Quarterly
- Disability & Society
- Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
- Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies
Have a favourite podcast to add to this list? Email Rachel.desjourdy [at] mcgill.ca with your recommendations.
Planning accessible events is most successful when access is a guiding principle, instead of an afterthought. Many organizations have published guides to help you during the event-planning process. Here is a selection to get you started:
- Planning Inclusive Events Guide published by Women and Gender Equality Canada includes a comprehensive checklist for planning inclusive events, which includes aspects of accessibility as well as other equity considerations.
- Planning Accessible Events: So Everyone Feels Welcome published by the Government of Ontario is simple and clear, and includes a checklist at the end
- Accessibility Guidelines for Organizers and Facilitators published by the Center for Community Organizations (COCo)
- Guide to Planning Inclusive Meetings published by the Government of Canada
- For virtual events, check out McGill's Virtual Presenters' Accessibility Guide
Teaching and Learning
Teaching and Learning Services
Teaching and Learning Services is a unit that provides resources, support, and development opportunities for instructors and students on campus. They offer multiple tools (online and in-person) to help instructors develop their teaching materials, as well as skills development programming for students.
Some resources of interest include:
- Accessible course outline template
- Teaching Checklist
- McGill Policies and Guidelines related to Teaching
- Virtual Presenters' Accessibility Guide
McGill also collaborated on a series of online modules on Making Learning Inclusive and Accessible which includes how-to tutorials so you can apply principles of accessibility in designing course materials.
Office for Students with Disabilities
The Office for Studies with Disabilties (OSD) is a division of Student Services that administers reasonable accommodations for students on behalf of the faculties at the University.
- If you are a student looking for more information regarding eligibility for OSD Services, you can follow the directions on the New OSD Student webpage.
- For instructors looking for resources, or who have questions about the services that the OSD offers to students, you can view the OSD’s Faculty & Staff webpage
Disability Working Group
The Disability Working Group is affiliated with the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill. It is a community of researchers, students, members of the disability community, allies and other stakeholders interested in disability studies, culture and policy.
McGill has several library branches that offer services, which may be particularly helpful to students and staff with disabilities.
The Government of Quebec published revised web accessibility standards in 2018, outlining the accessibility standards that websites, including McGill’s websites, should adhere to.
If you have an issue navigating any of McGill’s webpages, you can report accessibility issues to IT Services using their dedicated form.
IT Services has published several articles on website accessibility using WMS – especially important if you are a McGill website editor or manager.
Want to learn more about website accessibility? You can explore:
The University of Minnesota has a valuable toolkit on Accessible Social Media that covers best practices and tips on how to optimize accessibility on each of these platforms (and more!). University of Arkansas' Explore Access website contains a Social Media Toolkit, and another helpful resource guide was created by Queen’s University’s Accessibility Hub, on Social Media Accessibility.
AccessibilityOz recorded a webinar on Social Media and Accessibility (May 2020)
In addition, we have included links to accessibility tips and resources for each platform:
Accommodations in the workplace
McGill University is committed to fostering an equitable, accessible, and inclusive workplace. As such, the University is committed to ensuring that all employees enjoy equal opportunity free from discrimination prohibited by law, including discrimination on the basis of a disability. Learn more about workplace accommodation requests via the Human Resources’ website
Accommodations in interviews
If you are a candidate with a disability, and would like to request accommodations during your interview at McGill, write to: accessibilityrequest.hr [at] mcgill.ca. Learn more about accommodations during interviews via the Human Resources’ website.
Harassment and discrimination
The Senior Equity and Inclusion Advisor is your first contact if you have a question about harassment or discrimination, if you want to file a complaint, or if you are looking for resources. For more information and how to report, visit the Reporting Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Violence website.
Individualized emergency response plans
Any member of McGill with a condition that may impact their ability to safely evacuate during a fire alarm are invited to prepare for emergencies by speaking with a Fire Prevention Officer.
Call: 514-398-3473 or email: fireprevention [at] mcgill.ca
Finding accessible housing in Montreal
- A couple of resources are available to help you and your family’s search for accessible housing in Montreal:
- The Government of Quebec’s Societe d’habitation offers a Residential Adaptation Assistance Program where eligible persons can receive financial assistance to retrofit or adapt their home
- The City of Montreal’s website has information on finding handicapped-accessible housing
- OnRoule: Interactive Accessible Lodging/Housing Database
If you are a student interested in living in McGill’s residences, and would like to signal an accessibility request, you can complete the Residence Accessibility Request Form