Policies and Procedures

In Student Accessibility Services, we follow multiple policies and procedures to ensure we can deliver effective support services for you and your peers. “What happens if I miss an appointment?” “Does SAS close on snow days?” Get answers to these questions and more on this page.

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Student Accessibility Services policies and procedures

Review these policies related to our department procedures so you can make the most of our services.

The University is committed to maintaining a vibrant intellectual community and environment where students can work closely with world-class faculty members, engage in in-person classroom discussions and receive hands-on training in labs, studios and other specialized projects. We expect students to actively participate in in-person classes, which will require regular attendance on campus.

The University also recognizes its obligation to reasonably accommodate students who qualify for accommodations, in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and applicable McMaster policies. Such accommodations are subject to the essential requirements of courses and programs, which regularly include requirements to attend in-person classes, labs, tests and exams.

For retroactive accommodation requests, we follow the guidelines and principles in the Ontario Human Rights Commission and McMaster Academic Accommodation Policy of Students. You may be eligible for retroactive accommodations if any of these scenarios caused you to fail to meet class, course or program requirements.

  • You experienced a disruption in your functioning but couldn’t follow the university’s accommodations process.
  • You had a need for accommodations without prior warning.
  • You experienced disability-related symptoms for the first time and didn’t receive accommodations.
  • You received accommodations, but they weren’t enough to meet your needs based on the circumstances.

Retroactive accommodations may be for permanent or temporary disabilities. You can submit a retroactive accommodation request by registering with Student Accessibility Services and consulting your program coordinator.

Then, we’ll consult the Faculty to determine if you’re eligible for a retroactive accommodation. We’ll make a recommendation to the Faculty, who is then responsible to communicate and implement the outcome of the approved accommodations.

Note: If you’ve completed your graduation or degree and need retroactive accommodations, you should contact the Equity and Inclusion Office to submit a request.

Some areas in Student Accessibility Services are under video surveillance to ensure the safety of everyone in the environment. These areas include:

  • SAS Testing Centre (MUSC B101)
  • SAS front desk area (MUSC B101)

Note: There’s no video surveillance in areas where student appointments take place.

What’s a “no show”?

Our policy defines a “no show” in two ways.

  1. When a student is more than 15 minutes late
  2. When a student cancels with less than 24-hours notice

What happens if I “no show”?

If you’re more than 15 minutes late or you cancel with less than 24-hours notice, you’ll be charged a no-show fee: $30 for appointments and $50 for tests. You’re granted one no show per term. After that, you’ll be charged for every subsequent no show.

Does the policy apply to all McMaster appointments and tests?

This policy applies to all students attending an appointment, term test or exam administered by Student Accessibility Services.

  • The policy doesn’t apply to Registrar exams (April or December exams, February or June deferred exams)
  • The policy doesn’t apply to appointments offered by other McMaster departments.
  1. While writing a test or exam, you can only have the instruments you need to take the test or exam (pens, pencils, authorized calculator, etc.). You may have other items approved as an accommodation (food, drink, medical aids, memory/formula sheet, etc.).
  2. You can’t keep personal possessions with you when writing a test or exam.
  3. All electronic technology must be turned off, even when not in possession when writing an exam (cell phones, tablets, etc.).
  4. All personal possessions must be kept outside the writing room location. Or, when stowing personal possessions outside the writing space isn’t possible, all personal possessions must be kept clearly out of reach while writing.
  5. If you need to give invigilation staff any personal possessions for safe-keeping, the invigilator will provide a receipt identifying the item. Then, you can retrieve it from the invigilator after submitting the completed test or exam.
  6. If you use a mobility device such as a wheelchair and/or walker, you must detach all personal objects (backpacks, pouches, etc.) and stow them away according to the requirements of this protocol.
  7. If you can’t detach personal possessions (backpack, pouch, etc.) from the mobility device (walker, wheel chair, etc.), you must remove the contents and stow them in a separate sealed bag and place it out of reach according to this protocol. When necessary, SAS invigilation staff can provide a clear plastic bag to stow and seal personal possessions.
  8. If you require access to personal items when using the washroom, you may take the pouch containing those items when leaving to use the washroom. When you return, the pouch or its contents must be stowed again according to this protocol.
  9. The invigilator will check on all students regularly during the test to ensure no unauthorized materials are on the desk.
  10. Invigilators will complete an incident report if necessary and document any incident(s). Invigilators will follow up with a test/exam coordinator if an incident occurs.
  • If you have a class test (midterm) cancelled due to a snow day closure, it’s your obligation to follow up with your instructor, then SAS, to reschedule a cancelled test.
  • If you have an instructor final exam cancelled as a result of a university snow day closure, it’s your responsibility to follow up with your instructor, then SAS tests, to reschedule a cancelled exam.
  • It’s your obligation to attend all scheduled class tests or instructor exams booked with SAS regardless of bad weather if the university remains open.
  • If you feel that you can’t attend a scheduled class test or instructor exam with SAS because of inclement weather, it’s your responsibility to contact your instructor and notify SAS of your intention to not write the test/exam. Otherwise, you’ll be charge a no-show fee.

This protocol applies to any student who requests to use the washroom during a test or exam.

  1. You must advise the invigilator when you need a washroom break.
  2. Before you leave for the washroom, the invigilator must confirm that all content and materials pertaining to the test are left behind at your desk.
  3. The invigilator will document the time you leave and return.
  4. If you take frequent washroom visits during a single test or exam, your SAS program coordinator will be advised to address the matter as necessary. If you don’t have a washroom break as a specific accommodation, it’s important to address this with your program coordinator for follow-up as necessary.
  5. Within 10 to 15 minutes after you return from the washroom, the invigilator will check to ensure there are no unauthorized materials at your desk.
  6. The invigilator will complete an incident report and report to the test/exam coordinator if there are any issues and/or unauthorized materials.
  7. If the invigilator finds unauthorized materials, all related reports will be submitted to the test/exam coordinator, who will forward to the necessary individuals: course instructor, academic integrity officer and SAS program coordinator for the student file. Where necessary, the matter may also need to be brought to the attention of the SAS director.

Additional policies, procedures and guidelines

McMaster's Policy on Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

McMaster's Student Code of Rights and Responsibilities

Ontario's Policy on Accessible Education for Students with Disabilities

Ontario Psychological Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Assessment of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Learning Disabilities