Gender-based analysis plus


The Government of Canada defines the term “gender-based analysis plus” (GBA+) as an analytical process used to help identify the potential impacts of policies, programs and services on diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that the analysis goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences. All individuals have multiple identity factors that intersect to make them who they are — for example, race, national and ethnic origin, Indigenous origin or identity, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic condition, place of residence and disability.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the full implementation of GBA+ in all federal departments so that the potential of different impacts on diverse groups of people is considered when policies, programs and legislation are developed.

In 2015, the government renewed its commitment to GBA+ and mandated the Minister for Women and Gender Equality1 to work with the President of the Treasury Board to ensure that GBA+ is incorporated into Departmental Results Frameworks, Departmental Plans, Departmental Results Reports and performance reporting.

In Budget 2018, the government introduced the Gender Results Framework, a whole‑of‑government tool to track how Canada is performing to help define what is needed to achieve greater equality and to determine how to measure progress. Also in 2018, the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act gave the Minister of Finance and the President of the Treasury Board the responsibility of making available analysis of impacts of tax and program expenditures.

In 2019, the first gender report was released with the budget, and the Report on Federal Tax Expenditures included a GBA+ of existing federal personal income tax measures. Budget 2019 also included funding for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to:

work with departments receiving Budget 2019 funding to ensure robust administrative data collection and reporting practices with respect to gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) information for all initiatives.

Although GBA+ is now embedded in various government processes, access to quality data remains a challenge for analysts and decision makers. This challenge exists in all areas of government work and was recently acknowledged in the 2018 Report to the Clerk of the Privy Council: A Data Strategy Roadmap for the Federal Public Service. The report, which recognizes the power of data in making decisions and delivering services, provides a roadmap for creating, protecting, using, managing and sharing data as a strategic asset. For the government to meet the requirements of the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act, it needs to capture more information on departments’ capacity to collect the data that is used for GBA+.

General information

Governance structures The Privy Council Office (PCO) continued to implement the Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis covering the period from 2016 to 2020, in collaboration with Status of Women Canada (now referred to as Women and Gender Equality — or WAGE) and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS).

As part of PCO’s role of Secretary to the Cabinet, PCO analysts provided the “challenge function” for departments to advance policy, legislative and government administration proposals through Memorandums to Cabinet (MCs). The challenge function helps departments develop, in a timely manner, high quality proposals that focus on addressing priority areas identified by the Government.

PCO-Finance challenge function: As part of Budget 2018, PCO was responsible for securing the Prime Minister decisions for annual federal budgets, and helped advance policy and legislative proposals to promote the principle of gender equality and greater inclusiveness as part of the annual federal budget process. This included the development of the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act, which was part of Bill C-86 Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, and received Royal Assent in December 2018.

PCO’s GBA+ Focal Point engaged regularly with the Department of Finance Canada regarding ongoing refinement of the Budget GBA+ Annex and Gender Results Framework. The GBA+ Focal Point participated in the Finance’s post-mortem to ensure that intersectional considerations (including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) were considered in and/or integrated into the materials.

To ensure decision makers at all levels of PCO are equipped to take GBA+ into account in departmental decision making, GBA+ training is mandatory for over one third of positions at PCO, including for all executives in the EX-01 to EX-05 levels.

Accountability, monitoring and reporting mechanisms will be established through the development and implementation of a PCO GBA+ Directive that PCO intends to complete in 2020.

The GBA+ Focal Point created a decision making tool that helps clarify how PCO analysts should advise departments on their use of GBA+ in various cabinet documents.

In addition, the GBA+ Focal Point is engaged on all PCO-led MCs, conducting a review and providing a GBA+ challenge function.

Further, the GBA+ Focal Point supports PCO analysts in providing consistent and clear advice regarding GBA+ in Cabinet documents.

The GBA+ Focal Point also conducts an annual review to identify gaps and best practices in the use of GBA+ in MCs. In addition, it provides recommendations on how PCO analysts can better support departments in conducting robust GBA+ analysis.

A collaboration page and general mailbox was created to centralize resources and requests specific to GBA+ at PCO. Managed by the GBA+ Focal Point, the page includes tools developed by the GBA+ Focal Point to support PCO analysts. This resource page is available to other departments.
Human resources PCO supported analysts, legal specialists and executives across the department in maintaining GBA+ knowledge and practice as a vital part of the work they perform. PCO maintained a list of identified positions that perform policy analysis and make policy recommendations.

PCO’s GBA+ Focal Point provided targeted training across PCO upon request and continues to do this work.

PCO specific GBA+ information sessions and training were offered to new analysts, as well as to analysts working in other parts of PCO.

The GBA+ Focal Point sits on PCO’s Employment Equity and Diversity Committee and on the interdepartmental working group on Diversity and Inclusion.
Major initiatives: results achieved 1. The results of initiatives identified in PCO’s 2018-19 Departmental Plan are as follows:

  • Develop and implement a framework to monitor progress on GBA+ capacity and implementation across the Government: PCO is developing a GBA+ framework/directive for the department and expects to complete this work in 2020.
  • Report regularly on GBA+: PCO’s GBA+ Focal Point provided updates on the quality of GBA+ in Cabinet documents sent to the Deputy Secretary and to Cabinet Affairs analysts from other government departments. The GBA+ Focal Point conducts an annual review of GBA+ in MCs.
  • Play a proactive role to ensure GBA+ consideration in Cabinet submissions: The GBA+ Focal Point continues to support PCO analysts in providing consistent and clear advice regarding GBA+ in Cabinet documents.
  • Support Status of Women Canada [now WAGE] in identifying departments and agencies performing well (or poorly) on GBA+: PCO’s GBA+ Focal Point worked with WAGE on evaluating GBA+ quality in Cabinet documents. In addition to the annual review of GBA+ in MCs, the GBA+ Focal Point worked with WAGE to ensure PCO and WAGE measure GBA+ quality consistently.
  • Work with Status of Women Canada [now WAGE] to identify examples where GBA+ has impacted outcomes of policies, programs and legislation: The GBA+ Focal Point continues to work across PCO to support a comprehensive GBA+ challenge function. This is achieved through tool development, training for PCO staff, case study development, and ad hoc support for PCO analysts
2. Results of other initiatives undertaken in 2018–19 are as follows:

  • In May 2018, the GBA+ Focal Point completed a review of 20 MCs that looked at broad trends and issues affecting the overall quality of GBA+. The intent of the review was to identify the consistency of the GBA+ challenge function at PCO and to determine what additional tools facilitate PCO’s analysts’ in their challenge function role.
  • PCO’s GBA+ Focal Point also developed a number of GBA+ tools and resources for analysts in the department, including targeted training modules, case studies and tools to help analysts provide GBA+ direction to departments. The GBA+ Focal Point and PCO challenge function analysts also supported the 2018–19 pilot of the Canada School of Public Service GBA+ Premium Course, during which the school educated participants on PCO’s role in providing a GBA+ challenge function on MCs.
Reporting capacity and data PCO does not have any programs applicable to this indicator and does not collect relevant micro-data for its programs.
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