Tool - Assessing the Quality of a GBA Plus in the Impact Statement

This document is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) or its regulations. In the event of an inconsistency between this document and the IAA or its regulations, the IAA and its regulations would prevail. For the most up-to-date versions of the IAA and regulations, please consult the Department of Justice website.

The purpose of this guidance is to support high quality Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and is intended to complement the existing GBA Plus Guidance. The tool provides information on the specific criteria used by the Impact Assessment Agency Canada (the Agency) to assess the quality of a proponent’s GBA Plus. GBA Plus should be integrated into all aspects of assessments: planning, impact statements, impact assessments, decision making, follow-up, compliance, and enforcement. This tool, however, is focused on quality criteria related to the Impact Statement.

GBA Plus is an analytical tool to support the development of responsive and inclusive policies, programs, and other initiatives. Applying GBA Plus to the impact assessment process helps increase understanding of who is impacted by a project and assess how they may experience impacts differently. With these insights, projects can be tailored to better meet diverse needs in anticipating and mitigating barriers that various individuals and groups might face and to ensure that all people can benefit.

When undertaking GBA Plus, various identity and social factors need to be considered including, for example, age, economic status, education, ethnicity, gender, geography, language, racialization, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Using disaggregated data and informing actions with the perspectives of diverse individuals helps shed light on the range of experiences, barriers, and inequalities certain people face. It is important to remember that GBA Plus is an intersectional analysis that helps to conceptualize a person, group of people, or social problem as affected by a number of factors. It takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand how these factors can shape social, health and economic opportunities and outcomes, and influence people’s experiences. In other words, GBA Plus helps better understand how people can often be disadvantaged or privileged by multiple factors and systems that interact to create different access to project opportunities or benefits.

The Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines (TISG) provide direction to the proponent on the factors to be considered, the methodology to be followed and information requirements, in order to guide preparation of the Impact Statement. The TISGs are developed by the Agency and provided to the proponent early in the IA process. These are tailored for the specific designated project and will help ensure that all potential project effects (e.g., environmental, health, social, economic) are considered. GBA Plus must be fully integrated throughout the proponent’s Impact Statement and throughout the analysis of environmental, health, social and economic effects, including the ways in which diverse population subgroups experience these effects.

Rigorous GBA Plus requires the generation, collection and use of both quantitative and qualitative data that are disaggregated (e.g., First Nations, youth, women) and intersected (e.g., First Nations women, young men) so that possible differential effects are identified, and mitigation measures are planned to address adverse effects. Baseline information to support effects analysis can come from government statistics, non-governmental organization reports and academic sources. Additionally, community consultations and meaningful engagement are important to gain a better understanding of context. Instead of starting with a proposed response to an issue, the GBA Plus process requires first identifying people impacted by the issue and then building responses that account for the different ways in which people are impacted. Identifying the experiences and needs of different groups is an iterative and interactive process, best done in consultation with people from various groups and positions in those groups to maximize the diversity and depth of perspectives and understanding.

Following submission of the proponent’s draft Impact Statement, it is reviewed for quality, which includes an assessment of the quality of the GBA Plus. Should there be gaps in the GBA Plus, these observations may be highlighted as "Deficient Analysis" and must be addressed in the proponent’s final Impact Statement.

For more information on how to conduct a GBA Plus, please refer to the Agency’s Guidance: Gender-based Analysis Plus in Impact Assessment.

General Expectations for Incorporating GBA Plus in the Impact Statement (Phase 2)

Best Practice

Meets Expectations

Deficient Analysis

Integration of GBA Plus

  • Evidence that the process by which value components were identified, data were collected, and effects were assessed was participatory, intersectional,Footnote1 considered Indigenous and community knowledge and/or was community-led.
  • GBA Plus is clearly and fully part of the overall Impact Statement. The following Impact Statement sections integrate GBA Plus:
    • Alternative means of carrying out the project
    • Record of Engagement
    • Baseline Conditions (Health, Social, Economic)
    • Effects Assessment (Health, Social, Economic)
    • Cumulative Effects
    • Mitigation and Enhancement Measures
    • Extent of Significance Characterization
    • Follow-up Programs
  • GBA Plus has been conducted but is not an integral part of the Impact Statement (e.g., is found only in the annex, and is not integrated with the overall Statement).
  • GBA Plus is not linked to the overall Impact Statement.
  • GBA Plus has been incorporated in some of the analysis but lacks application to key sections throughout the Impact Statement.

Diverse population groups are considered

  • Analysis is intersectional and moves beyond the descriptive to ask critical questions about how colonization, racism and other systems of power create disparities.
  • Analysis is community driven, with an emphasis on including diverse perspectives.
  • An interdisciplinary approach has been used to engage individuals with varying perspectives and enhance understanding of complex issues.
  • The MMIWG Calls for JusticeFootnote2 related to resource extraction (13.1 – 13.5) are considered in the impact statement including the specific impacts to Indigenous women and their rights.
  • Community-relevant, diverse groups have been clearly considered in assessing potential effects of the project.
  • There has been meaningfulFootnote3 engagement with the public, Indigenous groups, organizations and stakeholders.
  • Relevant identity and social factors are analyzed, such as sex, gender, ethnicity, racialization, culture, religion, income, age, sexual orientation, disability, education, geography, language, etc.
  • Data presented to the extent possible for diverse populations.

At minimum, the following MMIWG Calls for Justice are considered (if part of TISG):

  • The safety and security of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIAFootnote4 people are considered at all stages of the project.
  • Equity in project benefits for diverse people is considered.
  • Potential for increased demand on social infrastructure is considered and mitigation measures identified.
  • The specific impacts to Indigenous women and their rights have been considered.Footnote5
  • Sex and/or gender has/have been considered in assessing potential effects of the project, but no other identity factors have been assessed. No evidence of intersectional analysis.
  • There has been no meaningful engagement with the public, Indigenous groups, organizations and stakeholders.
  • Diverse groups are identified, but there is little to no information presented for each.

The following Calls for Justice were not considered (if part of TISG):

  • The safety and security of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people all stages of the project.
  • Equity in project benefits for diverse people has not been considered.
  • Potential for the project to increase demand on social infrastructure has not been included nor have mitigation measures been identified.
  • The specific impacts to Indigenous women's rights have not been considered.

Data and Methodologies

  • Qualitative and quantitative data are presented, with flexibility to integrate Indigenous knowledge (e.g., lived/living experiences, input through storytelling, song, or oral history).
  • Conduct an intersectional assessment of the potential effects the project may have on groups within the community.
  • Best available evidence is used where data are missing or limited.
  • Data presented are disaggregated throughout, and clearly support conclusions.Footnote6
  • Follow-through is clear from baseline and effects analysis to mitigation and enhancement measures.
  • Effects analysis considers how colonization, racism and other systems of power may create disparities.
  • Data gaps or limitations are clearly described (e.g., ability to disaggregate) and approaches undertaken to address gaps and limitations are outlined, where appropriate.Footnote7 Efforts are made to address data gaps with other sources and/or generalized from existing data.
  • Methodologies used are identified and rationale is provided.
  • Results of the cumulative effects analysis consider and describe effects across diverse population groups, where appropriate.Footnote8
  • It is clear, or stated, that analysis and reporting of data follows protocols for
    1. collection and reporting of data within Indigenous communities and
    2. confidentiality guidelines for disaggregated data from small or unique populations.Footnote9
  • Data are sparse and/or do not support the conclusions of the GBA Plus.
  • Data gaps or limitations are not described.
  • Methodologies used are not identified.
  • Some data are presented, but are not integrated throughout the Impact Statement.


  • Unintended consequences of the mitigation measures have been explored.Footnote10
  • Evidence of community engagement and input in identification of mitigation measures and methods for evaluating their effectiveness.
  • The proposed mitigation or voluntary commitmentsFootnote11 (where relevant) clearly address the issues identified in the GBA Plus.
  • Uncertainties associated with mitigation measures are characterized and appropriately disaggregated. Evidence/data are included to support the rationale.
  • The proposed mitigation or voluntary commitments (where relevant) address few of the issues identified in the GBA Plus.


  • Evidence of community engagement and input in identification of follow-up measures and plans, as required.
  • Proposed indicators for follow-up clearly link to GBA Plus and propose relevant indicators and data collection for diverse population groups.
  • No means of follow-up have been proposed.
  • Indicators do not reflect the outcomes and areas of uncertainty identified in the GBA Plus.
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