User Instructions for the GBA+ Departmental Summary
Table of Contents
GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The "plus" in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences and considers many other identity factors, like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
The GBA+ Departmental Summary Template is a tool that captures key GBA+ information for an initiative, policy or program in order to support and inform decision-making. These user instructions are intended to provide additional clarity, definition and examples to support the use of the template.
Publicly Available Information
The information provided in the GBA+ summary template may be made publicly available.
Information and Data Sources
Foundational to a strong GBA+ is clear and credible information upon which to base the analysis. Some key Government of Canada resources include:
- Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub
- Gender Results Framework Portal
- Statistics Canada data
- Open Data
- Departmental Administrative Data
Examples of other data resources include:
Statistics Canada offers a variety of workshops, training, and conferences to help analysts expand and improve their data skills. For the full list of current offerings, please visit https://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/services/wtc.
Please read through these instructions carefully as you fill out the GBA+ Departmental Summary document, also referred to as the “template.” Examples from Budget 2019 and the 2020 Economic and Fiscal Snapshot have been provided throughout, to provide clarity for more complicated scenarios. Please see Budget 2019’s Gender Report and the 2020 Economic and Fiscal Snapshot GBA+ Summary (Snapshot 2020) for more examples.
1. General Information
This section collects descriptive information about the proposal, the organizations which will be involved in its development and delivery, and the timing of the GBA+ summarized in this template.
- Please use the same title as used for budget/off-cycle proposal template.
- Using the drop-down menu, identify the lead department involved in the delivery of the proposal. If there is more than one department involved, please type the department's name in the "Other Departments" box. It is expected that a GBA+ summary be completed for all components of the proposal, which may require the coordination and input of multiple departments, as applicable. Where GBA+ summaries for different components of a proposal are highly similar, one summary may be used for the entire proposal.
- Strong Arctic and Northern Communities encompasses a range of measures including enhanced economic development programming, infrastructure investments, a task force on post-secondary education, and research funding. Some of these initiatives provide targeted supports to Northern youth and Indigenous Peoples. In this example, multiple GBA+ summaries were submitted as part of this proposal to reflect each of the distinct components.
Type of measure
- Proposals will be categorized as either a program, policy, legislation/regulation, or revenue-related measure.
- Select "policy" for those instances where the change exclusively relates to a new or change to government policy.
- Select "revenue-related" for tax measures and other revenue-related measures.
- For all proposals that require legislation, select "legislation or regulation". Many measures may involve both a program and legislation, or revenue and legislation.
- All proposals should be either new or existing. If the proposal is for an existing program, please differentiate between a modification of the program versus a renewal of the program exactly as it is.
Timing of Conduct of GBA+
- GBA+ can, and should, be conducted at various stages throughout the development and delivery of a policy, program or initiative. This section is intended to identify when the GBA+ analysis was first conducted for the initiative described in the proposal and how current the analysis is, and not when this GBA+ summary template was filled.
- Depending on the maturity of the proposal, it is possible that a department would select more than one of these options, the last of which would be representative of how recently the latest version of GBA+ may have been updated.
- If clarification is necessary, please use the optional comments area provided.
2. Brief Description of Proposal
This section seeks a brief description of the proposal, not of the GBA+.
- The problem statement should describe "why" this proposal is being proposed. A question to ask when filling this out could be: What requirement or gap does the proposal address or respond to?
- The approach should briefly define "what" the proposal is, how it addresses the problem and how it will be implemented.
3. Target Group (Policy Intent)
This section seeks information on the target population for the proposal, which may be different from the groups affected (section 4). Please choose one of the three categories that best describes the target group that the proposal is intended to benefit: all Canadians, specific regions or sectors, or a particular demographic group. It is expected that a single category would be selected in most circumstances; however, in rare instances, it may be appropriate to identify more than one target group (e.g. an initiative aimed at Indigenous persons in the Atlantic regions).
If none of the options come close to reflecting the primary target group, then please use the explanatory box at the end of this section to specify the target group and provide further details.
- This option refers to those proposals that are aimed at the Canadian population as a whole or to support the broader values of Canadian society. Proposals designed to support government operations, environmental protection, scientific research, and international development and engagement, achieve fiscal savings, promote public safety or defence are all examples of proposals that would generally be characterized as aimed at all Canadians.
This is a tax integrity proposal
- This box is intended to identify tax integrity proposals, a particular subset of proposals which are seen to be aimed at all Canadians through their fiscal savings and improvements to the fairness and efficiency of the tax system.
Specific regions or sectors of the economy
- This sub-section refers to proposals that are primarily aimed at specific:
- regions of Canada. Some examples include remote regions, rural areas, urban areas, specific provinces or territories; or
- industries or sectors of the economy. Some examples include the auto industry, oil industry, dairy sector, etc.
- Please provide more information in the comments box at the bottom of the page, including details on which region or industry.
A particular demographic group
- This sub-section refers to proposals that are specifically targeted towards helping specific segments of the population. Some examples include: Indigenous women, homeless men, LGBTQ2+ individuals, low income Canadians, etc.
Budget 2019 and Snapshot 2020 Examples for Target Group
For the majority of budget proposals, defining the target population will be straightforward; however, for proposals that have broader objectives (i.e. environment, research, etc.) as part of their design, there may be overlap across these categories. Here are some examples of how the target population was defined for some of the more complex measures in Budget 2019 and Snapshot 2020.
- The policy intent for Commemorating Canada's Veterans: Highway of Heroes is for all Canadians to be reminded of those who have served in uniform; however, veterans are also expected to benefit from this recognition. In this example, "All Canadians" was selected, but "veterans" was also identified as a target group. Although the Highway of Heroes is located across part of southern Ontario, "Specific regions" was not selected as the region was not central to the measure's objective.
- Generally speaking, measures which seek to improve the environment will be described as aimed at "All Canadians"; however, the specific region or sector may be noted when there is a strong regional or sectoral focus to the measure (e.g. Cleaning Up Federal Contaminated Sites, Supporting Business Investment in Zero-Emission Vehicles).
- Several of the Budget 2019 measures involved support to scientific research, where the objective was to strengthen Canada's research sector in order to make possible discoveries and applications that benefit Canadians and the Canadian economy (e.g. Stem Cell Network, Brain Canada Foundation, Terry Fox Research Institute, Genome Canada, Strengthening Canada's World-Class Physics Research). In these examples, the target population was noted as both "all Canadians" and the "science and research sector".
- In Snapshot 2020, Funding for Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies (PPE) directly supports health care workers through improved access to PPE and COVID-19 patients. Therefore, “Specific Industry” and “All Canadians” were selected and explained while the demographic characteristics of direct and indirect beneficiaries described in section 4 of the template.
- Modernizing the Youth Employment Strategy targets Canadians between the ages of 15-30, with an increased focus on youth who are furthest from opportunity. In this example, the option chosen was "Children or Youth" and the specific youth subgroups that benefited most were described in sections 4 of the template.
4. Expected Outcomes
A proposal can affect people in a number of different ways, not all of which may be immediately obvious. It is important to consider all angles of how the proposal may affect people. This analysis should be linked to the quality of life domains identified in the proposal template for a given proposal. (The GBA+ corresponds with the “fairness and inclusion” angle of the framework, which focusses on distributional impacts.)
A. Direct Benefits
This section seeks to collect information on the gender and demographic characteristics of the recipient group over the short- and medium-term (five years). This group may align with the target client group or it may have different characteristics.
Notable demographic characteristics
- This table should identify demographic characteristics that are predominant in the benefitting group relative to the population at large, as is the case for the majority of budget proposals. For example, if 25 per cent of the people benefitting from a proposal are low-income compared to the 11 per cent of Canadians clarified as low-income in 2018, then "lower income" would be considered a notable demographic characteristic.
- If all income levels are benefitting equally then do not select any income level check boxes. The same applies for any sub-set of demographic characteristics; if all boxes are selected then no group is disproportionately benefiting. Leave the boxes unselected.
- Recognizing that some of the categories have diversity within, please use the <specify> field to add clarity, as appropriate (e.g. specifying two-spirit for the LGBTQ2+ section, or Atlantic Canada for the particular regions section, etc).
- Students: includes full-time, part-time and life-long learners.
- Workers: includes people in the paid labour force, whether employed or looking for a job. Does not include volunteers or those who work in the home.
- Lower-educated individuals: Highest level of education is high school or less.
- Higher-educated individuals: Have completed a first college diploma or university degree.
- Lower, middle and higher income: Identifying impacts across the income distribution can be challenging given that a family's position greatly depends on household size and geographic location. For these reasons, use your judgment to assess how a particular policy affects different types of people across the income distribution. Note that Statistics Canada has identified the Market Basket Measure thresholds for identifying a standard of living in Canada according to geographic location and family size.
- Newcomers: recent immigrants, foreign students, or foreign workers
- Snapshot 2020 Example: Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) targets all small-scale businesses and not a specific demographic or group. However, a large proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are majority men-owned, with much fewer being women-owned (63 per cent vs. 16 per cent; 21 per cent are equally owned between men and women). Therefore, men are expected to disproportionately benefit from the program.
- If “The benefitting group has no notable characteristics beyond those of the Canadian population overall” is selected then this means no subset of the population is disproportionately benefiting. Please do not select any demographic characteristics in this instance unless a clear explanation is provided.
- In cases where the selected characteristics reflect more than one distinct group of people (rather than one group possessing all these characteristics), please select the "multiple groups" option and use the explanation box at the end of this section to provide details of each group and the relevant characteristics.
- Giving Young Canadians Digital Skills provides funding to not-for-profit organizations so that they can offer coding and digital skills education to Canadian youth. While all the clients are children or youth, the program places a particular focus on youth that are girls, Indigenous, persons with disabilities, or those living in rural, remote and northern communities. In this example, the "multiple groups" box would be selected and an explanation would be provided to clarify that this measure was expected to help Indigenous youth, girls, youth with disabilities, etc.
- Expanding Health-related Tax Relief Under the GST/HST System would directly benefit persons with disabilities and health issues; however, there are three specific facets to this tax measure: providing tax relief for human ova and in vitro embryos, for foot-related medical devices, and for multidisciplinary health care services. In this example, the "multiple groups" box would be selected and clarification that there are three distinct groups and their corresponding characteristics would be included in the explanation box at the end of this section.
- Canadian Emergency Response Benefit benefits those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This group is comprised of multiple demographic characteristics which could intersect in certain circumstances i.e. lower-wage and youth, or be separate i.e. self-employed workers and gender. In this example, “multiple groups” was selected and clarification was provided.
No notable characteristics
This response should be used in the rare case that the benefitting group truly has no notable characteristics beyond that of the Canadian population overall. If this option is selected, do not fill out the table of demographic characteristics. Some examples are tax tightening proposals, which are assumed to benefit the entire population through the expected fiscal savings, or proposals to improve public safety for Canada as a whole.
- In some cases, the short- and medium-term impacts (up to 5 years) may differ from the long-term impacts. Please use this section of the form to describe any differences to the benefitting group, if applicable.
Budget 2019 Example: Making Zero-Emission Vehicles More Affordable is expected to help increase both supply and demand for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the short-term, and bring broad environmental and health benefits for all Canadians over the longer term. In this example, the long-term benefits were described as, "benefits from potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants are expected to benefit all Canadians."
B. Indirect Benefits
This section seeks to collect information on the notable gender and demographic characteristics of the group or groups of people who may receive secondary benefits from the proposal – for example through playing a role in the delivery of a proposal or experiencing the benefits of the proposal in a secondary way.
As with the direct benefits section, if there is more than one distinct group being indirectly affected, please provide details on the specific breakdowns.
If there is insufficient supporting data to make a determination, please choose "There is insufficient information to adequately assess the indirect impacts" and use the box at the end of this section to explain those data gaps. It is expected that every budget proposal has been sufficiently developed as to be clear who may be directly benefitting; however, it is understandable that not all proposals have the data available to confirm indirect beneficiaries.
Budget 2019 and Snapshot 2020 Examples:
- Enhancing the Rental Construction Financing Initiative will primarily benefit Canadians in need of affordable rental housing; however, workers in the construction industry building the housing would receive indirect benefits. Other indirect impacts could include less stress on community care resources and positive health, social and education outcomes for children due to the benefits of long-term, stable housing.
- Support for COVID-19 Medical Research and Vaccine Developments will benefit all Canadians and those at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Canadian workers in the health sciences, pharmaceutical and research sectors will indirectly benefit.
C. Negative Impacts
This section seeks to collect information on the notable gender and demographic characteristics of the group or groups of people who may be negatively affected by the proposed proposal. For all proposals with unintentional negative impacts, note that Section 5a: GBA+ Responsive Approach – Mitigation Strategies must also be filled.
Budget 2019 Example: The amendments to the Income Tax Act to prevent non-resident taxpayers from avoiding Canadian dividend withholding tax on compensation payments made under cross-border share lending arrangements will negatively affect these taxpayers. In this example, the Negative Impacts section would be filled out.
D. Income Distribution Impacts
Distributional impacts should be considered relative to existing incomes and tax contributions. Please explain the assumptions behind your assessment in the explanation box at the end of this section.
- For example, a government funded program that provides equal per capita benefits to all Canadians would be considered progressive, while an equal per capita tax on individuals would be considered regressive.
- Generally speaking, "strongly benefits low income individuals" would tend to be selected for proposals with impacts concentrated among low income groups (e.g. CPP auto enrollment). Proposals that carry benefits to both lower income and wealthier Canadians but that may be more valuable to low income individuals may be identified as "somewhat benefits low income individuals" (e.g. Canada Service Corps, Apprenticeship support, etc.).
Budget 2019 Example: Ensuring Everyone Who Is Eligible Receives Canada Pension Plan Benefits will ensure that seniors who have not applied enroll CPP contributors for a CPP pension once they reach age 70 if they have not applied. In this example, "Strongly benefits low income individuals" was selected.
- For proposals that are not tax or direct transfers (i.e. grants and contributions, regulatory proposals, other programs etc.), this section should indicate whether benefits are most likely concentrated among Canadians of different income levels.
Snapshot 2020 Example: Health & Social Support for Northern Communities provides support for northern communities including support for air carriers, enhanced food subsidies and other emergency health care preparations and response. The measures will benefit low-income individuals, who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, and who are overrepresented in small, isolated, and remote Northern communities. In this example, “Somewhat benefits low income individuals” was selected.
E. Generational Impacts
Generational impacts should be considered relative to the contributions of those benefiting from the proposal. For example, a new government program for retired seniors that is funded from the current tax base would primarily benefit seniors.
- For proposals that benefit the generations between youth and seniors, please select no significant generational impacts and describe the impacts in the explanation box for this section.
Snapshot 2020 Example: Canada Emergency Student Benefit provides income support to eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates who have lost work and income opportunities for reasons related to COVID-19. In this example, “Primarily benefits youth, children, or future generations” was chosen.
F. Data Sources
This section should be used to clearly source the information that was provided in Sections 4a-4e of the form. Do not worry about formatting.
- Indicate your data sources using the checkboxes, and provide further details in the right-hand column (e.g. hyperlinks, table names, articles, etc.). If any supporting information should not be made publicly available, please be clear about which information is sensitive in nature.
- Please identify any notable data gaps.
5. GBA+ Responsive Approach (fill out for all proposals)
This section should be used to describe mitigation strategies to address any negative impacts associated with the proposal. This section should also capture any proactive program design or implementation elements that address existing inequalities in order to reduce barriers.
a) Proposals Identifying Negative Impacts
- Only complete this section if you identified negative impacts in section 4 c).
- It is expected that mitigation measures have been considered if the GBA+ identified potential differential or negative impacts. Mitigation measures should be described with sufficient detail and provide enough context to understand the following:
- Scope and expected effect of the measure
- Any potential costs of the measure (where applicable) and the associated source of funds.
- In cases where mitigation measures have not been considered where the GBA+ identified potential differential or negative impacts, further information must be provided as to how mitigation measures will be considered going forward.
- For measures whose purpose is to address inequality by favoring a particular target group, please choose "Targets a specific client base; no mitigation measures are proposed to address the differential impact on groups outside of the target client base."
b) Proactive Strategies
- This section should always be considered.
- Analysts are encouraged to consider barriers that may be experienced by a group or groups of people. For example, a proposal may create an opportunity for a specific group, but inadvertently perpetuate an inequality or create a barrier for another group. For example, a program to promote coding for elementary school students may have low take-up from children in low-income families owing to high participation fees. While this may not create a negative impact per se, such barriers should be noted and proactive strategies should be developed whenever possible. Another example would be proactive strategies which take into consideration the circumstances of rural and remote communities and people living in them. This could include using a variety of communication channels to reach Canadians without high-speed internet access, personalized support, and specific adaptations to promote rural access to the program.
- This section should be filled not only for proposals that are seeking to improve equality, but for proposals that recognize possible barriers to access and have incorporated design features aimed at those marginalized groups. If there are no proactive strategies in place, leave this section blank.
Budget 2019 Example: Expanding the Canada Service Corps is aimed at youth across the country, providing them with volunteer opportunities to increase leadership and develop new skills. Recognizing that some youth may experience barriers in participating, the program developed new incentives and supports to reduce the barriers identified by underrepresented youth, including targeted outreach to increase participation amongst young men and boys.
6. Gender Results Framework
Gender Results Framework
- The Gender Results Framework is a whole-of- government tool to help define what is needed to achieve greater equality and to determine how progress will be measured going forward. Not all proposals will advance the Framework's goals. Consequently, it is expected that this section will be left blank for many proposals.
- For proposals that advance the Framework, please indicate which pillar will be advanced by choosing the goal (e.g. equal and full participation in the economy) or objective (e.g. reduced gender wage gap) from the corresponding drop-down menu. Please include an explanation of how the proposal advances the Framework in the box at the end of this section. More information on these goal statements, objectives and indicators can be found on Women and Gender Equality's website.
- Although only gender is included in the title of the Framework, it is aligned with the Government of Canada's policy of GBA+, ensuring that gender is considered in relation to other intersecting identity factors. Wherever possible, intersecting identity factors should be considered for all of the relevant indicators. For example, a measure that is designed to promote literacy among Indigenous populations could be described as advancing the Education and Skills Development pillar. For more information, please see the Gender Results Framework below.
Canada's Gender Results Framework
Equal opportunities and diversified paths in education and skills development
- More diversified educational paths and career choices
- Reduced gender gaps in reading and numeracy skills among youth, including Indigenous youth
- Equal lifelong learning opportunities and outcomes for adults
Equal and full participation in the economy
- Increased labour market opportunities for women, especially women in underrepresented groups
- Reduced gender wage gap
- Increased full-time employment of women
- Equal sharing of parenting roles and family responsibilities
- Better gender balance across occupations
- More women in higher-quality jobs, such as permanent and well-paid jobs
Gender equality in leadership roles and at all levels of decision-making
- More women in senior management positions, more diversity in senior leadership positions
- Increased opportunities for women to start and grow their businesses, and succeed on a global scale
- More company board seats held by women, more diversity on company boards
- Greater representation of women and underrepresented groups in elected office and ministerial positions in national and sub-national governments
- Increased representation of women and underrepresented groups as administrators of the justice system
Eliminating gender-based violence and harassment, and promoting security of the person and access to justice
- Workplaces are harassment-free
- Fewer women are victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault
- Fewer victims of childhood maltreatment
- Fewer women killed by an intimate partner
- Increased police reporting of violent crimes
- Fewer Indigenous women and girls are victims of violence
- Increased accountability and responsiveness of the Canadian criminal justice system
Reduced poverty and improved health outcomes
- Fewer vulnerable individuals living in poverty
- Fewer women and children living in food insecure households
- Fewer vulnerable individuals lacking stable, safe and permanent housing
- Child and spousal support orders are enforced
- More years in good health
- Improved mental health
- Improved access to contraception for young people and reduced adolescent birth rate
Promoting gender equality to build a more peaceful, inclusive, rules-based and prosperous world
- Feminist international approach to all policies and programs, including diplomacy, trade, security and development
7. Public and Stakeholder Engagement
This section seeks to confirm whether the public was engaged on the proposal and to understand the nature of the feedback received during those engagements.
- Please describe the nature and format of public consultations, including details on what point in the development of the proposal these consultations took place and how the target population was involved.
8. Monitoring and Evaluation
This section seeks to collect information on how the performance of the proposal will be actively monitored from a GBA+ perspective. Please consider this section in relation to the quality of life domains identified in the proposal template.
- Budget 2019 and Snapshot 2020 emphasized the importance of disaggregated data collection across government programs to improve inclusiveness. Where feasible, please describe any plans to improve the collection of disaggregated administrative data and strengthen reporting practices associated with this proposal. If no plans are in place, please explain the data collection plan going forward, or specify why there is no data collection plan in place.
- In some cases, it may be determined that no further monitoring is required, in which case a rationale will be required in this section.
9. Partial Funding
This section seeks to collect information on how the GBA+ impacts might change if the proposal were only partially funded.
- In most cases, the magnitude of the impacts may change, but not the demographic characteristics of the groups themselves. In these instances it is expected that this section would be left blank.
- Please use this section to describe the expected outcomes in alternative cases or cases of partial funding.
10. Summary GBA+ Statement for Publication
This section gives departments the opportunity to draft the text that may be used in a government publication.
- Please provide a brief description, using the information from questions 3 to 6 in this questionnaire. If applicable, please include information regarding equality and the Gender Results Framework, from question 6.
- Please describe impacts in a neutral, factual tone and avoid promotional language. See Budget 2019's GBA+ Annex and Snapshot 2020's GBA+ Summary for examples.
11. Contact Information
- At a minimum, please include the contact information for both the analyst and Director General responsible for the GBA+. Additional contact information may be provided, if required.
- It is recommended that your department's GBA+ Focal Point review the GBA+ Summary Template for consistency across your department.
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