FREE Legal Consultation

If you have not received an email already from our Health and Dental provider Studentcare, we would like to share some important information about your Health & Dental Plan and a new legal service now available to members.

Due to COVID-19, you may find yourself in a difficult or complicated situation with your employer, landlord, or academic institution, which may leave you wondering about your rights. To support you during the crisis, you now have free access to a legal consultation helpline for 1 month.

To consult with a lawyer on issues arising from the pandemic, contact the Appointment Booking Centre at 1-833-288-4620.

An agent will take note of your request and forward it to a lawyer who will promptly contact you.

•  WHAT?
A free legal consultation service for any matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic
•  WHEN?
Effective immediately, for the month of April
•  HOW?
Call the toll-free number: 1-833-288-4620

COVID-19 GSA Update- Apr 3rd

Hello grad students, 

Just a brief update of how our discussions have been with the University over the past week!

With respect to advocating for tuition waivers and financial constraints for graduate students soon to defend, there are still a few factors for the university to consider before releasing any final statements. But we are actively advocating for all of us throughout this time and ensuring that this issue is constantly on their minds.

Please find a few notes below that they were able to have final messaging about:

  • Students are encouraged to communicate regularly with their supervisors about goals to be achieved while working from home and their research progress.
  • Students who have unusual challenges in terms of access to internet and hardware required to work from home should communicate this to us at the GSA (, Andrea Cole ( in the School of Graduate Studies with a cc to their Faculty’s Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • Students who have accepted an offer for a May 1, 2020 start but who are reconsidering their start date may defer to September 1, 2020 or January 1, 2021 after consultation with their supervisor.
  • No graduate student should be in the lab on-campus at this time unless the lab has been permitted an exception by the Vice-President Research’s office.
  • Emergency financial assistance is available to graduate students. Please consult for details.
  • Graduate instructors have been informed of the degree of flexibility allowed in determining numerical grades for courses concluding at the end of the Winter 2020 term. Further clarification of options is expected subsequent to the April 8, 2020 meeting of Senate. 

In addition to these points, we are asking you to please fill out this very brief survey no later than April 8th @ 5PM outlining your specific concerns that we will compile and present to the University on April 10th. Also, we are partnering with SGS to have a weekly café drop in where you can voice specific concerns throughout this time and also have a chat with fellow graduate students about how we are all getting through this time. Updates to follow shortly.

We are in communication with upper administration every day and have recurring meetings set up with Leadership at the University on a weekly basis. For many of our questions, they have tried their best to be accommodating to find solutions for us and the student body in general; however, we too are still waiting for clarification. That’s not to suggest we are dormant. We continue to voice our concerns to McMaster.

And please continue to check our website and the McMaster University Website for current information and developments with respect to COVID-19.

If there are any other concerns that you’d want further follow-up with, please feel free to shoot me an email personally ( and I’ll try my best to get back to you as soon as possible!

Your GSA

COVID-19 GSA Update

Dear fellow grad students,

Firstly, we at the GSA hope you are doing as well as you can throughout these very uncertain and unsettling times. 

As the world collectively responds to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the well-being and success of our students is at the top of our minds. Undoubtedly, our work and home lives have been significantly impacted. We also realize that many of us as students have concerns about our projects, courses, theses, and dissertation studies. We want to assure you though, that your GSA continues to meet with Leadership at McMaster University and various other stakeholders across the country to discuss our needs as graduate students in order to bring tangible solutions. We have discussed with them the financial, emotional and mental implications that we are faced with as graduate students at this time and we are actively working with them on finding solutions for all of us.

During this time it is of the utmost importance that you connect with your supervisors as mush as possible, as they will be a key contact during this time especially as it relates to research expectations throughout this time. For those students who are enrolled in course-based studies and require course/project extensions please connect with your respective program co-ordinator(s). 

We also wanted to remind you of some of the additional mental help resources that are available during this difficult time:

– The Student Wellness Centre (all appointments must be booked via telephone)
– EmpowerMe: 1 (844) 741-6389 (for Graduate Students, online or phone life coaching)
– Good2Talk: 1-866-925-5454 (free professional and confidential support for all students in Ontario)
– The GSA Health plan also includes a $100.00 mental health benefit (full details available here). 

Keep yourselves and your love ones safe! 

And please continue to check our website and the McMaster University Website for current information and developments with respect to COVID-19.

Please feel free to reach out to us at if you want to discuss these matters further.

Your GSA

Elections 2020 Results

Thank you to everyone who voted in the 2020-202 GSA Election, the results are as follows:
841 (20.0%) of 4213 electors voted in this ballot.

GSA Executive Positions

President: Shawn Hercules 

Vice President External: Sydney Valentino
Vice President Services: Wei Zhao
Vice President Administration: Anthony Quarshie

GSA Faculty Representatives to the Council

Faculty Representative Council – Health Sciences: Shuwen Qian

The results are unofficial at this time as any GSA member may challenge the validity of the election in a written submission to the Chief Returning Officer ( within two (2) business days after posting on our website. Such submission shall contain the appellant’s name, student 
number, telephone number and address, as well as a detailed account of the alleged reasons for invalidating the election. 

HSR Referendum Results

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) Referendum!

The results are unofficial at this time as any GSA member may challenge the validity of a referendum in a written submission to the Chief Returning Officer ( within two (2) business days after official posts on our website. Such submission shall contain the appellant’s name, student number, telephone number and address, as well as a detailed account of the alleged reasons for invalidating the referendum.

Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) Referendum Question 2020 – PASSES
Quorum for any referendum question shall be five percent (5%) of all eligible voters.

Yes1111 (84.0%)
No211 (16.0%)
Abstain52 (3.8%)

Turnout: 1374 (32.6%) of 4213 electors voted in this ballot.

The HSR bus pass referendum passed and so students have accepted the following bus pass fees for the next 3 years:

2020-2021 : $283.15
2021-2022 : $295.15
2022-2023 : $300.75

Update from Your GSA President

Dear members,

I hope that by now, most of you have received the message from the President of the University, stating that in-person classes will be ending as of end-of-day today, and that no in-person exams will be held this term. Updates will be sent from SGS and your respective departments about expectations and graduate work during this time. Please keep an eye out for such statements. For all updates from the University, please visit the institution’s COVID-19 website ( as this is your best source of up-to-date information. Our Twitter and Facebook group channels will also be sharing these resources. 

For all GSA related questions, feel free to email us at and we will be sure to respond to you as soon as possible. Our office will be closed until further notice. As such, our Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for March 20th has been cancelled until further notice. At this meeting, we were going to approve our proposed budget and student fees for 2020-2021 and we were also going to ratify our elections which. We are currently thinking of alternatives for how to best move forward with these AGM items. Our Safe Talk workshop scheduled for March 18th has also been cancelled until further notice.

We understand that this is a very stressful time for us as students, and encourage you to use our mental health resources at Empower Me. This is how they can be reached.

  • Call the 24/7 helpline at 1-844-741-6389 from anywhere in North America to be directly connected to a trained counsellor—the person answering the phone is not an operator, administrator, or receptionist. 
  • Log in to the Empower Me website and use “Studentcare” as the password.
  • Download additional Empower Me student assistance tools on the iAspiria mobile app. Enter “Studentcare” as the Login ID and select “Student” in the drop-down menu.

Please stay safe and take care of yourself!

Shawn M. Hercules
McMaster Graduate Students’ Association
Refectory Building, East Tower
McMaster University,
1280 Main St. West,
Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1
Work: (905) 525-9140 x22043

GSA Elections 2020

Elections for GSA executive team (2020-2021) will take place Wednesday, March 11th at 10:00 am- Friday, March 13th at 6:00 p.m! Find out more about the candidates’ platforms by click this link.

To register to vote, kindly click and your ballot will appear when voting opens on March 11th @ 10AM

AGM 2020

March 20th, 9:00AM
The Phoenix Crafthouse and Grill

The GSA invites all members to the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Free breakfast will be provided, and we need 40 members to meet the quorum!

For any questions about the elections, please contact the Chief Returning Officer, Kara Tsang by email at, or the GSA office at

See you there! 

GSA Nominations 2020

Nomination Form – Executive Committee, FRCs, and Board of Directors positions
Nomination period begins February 5, 2020 at 10:00am and ends February 26, 2020 at 6:00pm. The Executive Committee and FRC nomination forms can be found here and the Board of Directors nomination form can be found here.

To be eligible, candidates must submit this nomination form to the GSA office by Wednesday, February 26, 2020, at 6:00 pm. Candidates may submit a nomination form for only one of the listed positions. Completed forms can be emailed to the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) directly at or dropped in at our office.

For any questions about the elections, please contact the Chief Returning Officer, Kara Tsang by email at, or the GSA office at

Welcome Week 2019

We are really excited to announce the list of events you can attend as a part of Welcome Week 2019. Join us to network with other grad students and have a fun-filled start to your journey at Mac.