Gender-Based Analysis Plus in Impact Assessment

Fact Sheet

What is gender-based analysis plus?

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) is an analytical framework that asks important questions about how designated projects may affect diverse groups. It considers the potential for disproportionate effects based on sex and gender, as the name suggests, in addition to the potential for disproportionate effects on groups represented by the “+” component of “GBA+”, which may include groups identified by age, place of residence, ethnicity, socio-economic status, employment status or disability.

GBA+ provides a framework and analytical tools to guide an impact assessment of a project, with the intent of identifying those effects that may disproportionately affect any groups identified in respect of a specific project. It informs decision-making by seeking to answer what is known about possible project impacts and transparently outline to the public and decision makers what is not known.

Is GBA+ new to impact assessment?

No, the application of GBA+ is not new to impact assessment.

It is a common, internationally recognized best practice in impact assessment to look at project effects across potentially impacted groups. Many proponents and most governments in Canada, both provincial and federal, have long required and successfully undertaken GBA+ analysis on major projects.

What is the value of GBA+ in impact assessment?

The goal of applying GBA+ to impact assessments is to better understand the positive and negative effects that a designated project may have on diverse population groups. By considering the potential for such groups to be disproportionately affected by a project early in the process, negative impacts and mitigations can be identified, ensuring better outcomes and better supporting a more fully informed public interest determination by decision makers.

How does GBA+ actually get applied to an impact assessment?

The specific methods applied will be driven by the project being assessed and on the specific community and issues that are identified in the early planning stage of the process. This is because impacts to different groups or vulnerable communities may require different methods or tools to understand, as well as unique responses and mitigations by proponents or governments. For example, the methods and tools used to understand an issue like underemployment among a vulnerable subgroup may involve:

  • statistics to highlight the percentage of people underemployed (or subgroups of those who are unemployed, to gauge the potential for retraining after mid-career layoff, to support underemployed youth or to inform recruitment strategies);
  • information obtained from interviews or existing research to help understand numbers and why underemployment is higher among some groups;
  • information obtained from community forums to discuss findings and propose potential solutions or mitigations.
GBA+ in practice : On-site housing
Issue GBA+ Approach

Concerns related to housing cost and availability will be addressed by building temporary housing at a worksite away from the main community.

Separate consultations with local Indigenous women’s groups were held and specific impacts related to temporary housing as a mitigation were highlighted: safety concerns; demand on local community resources (e.g., policing, health and social services); and appropriate opportunities for Indigenous women (e.g., separate housing). Mitigation identified to address concerns included cultural competency training, substance abuse awareness and response programs, enforceable safety rules at project site and additional resources for community services.

Many proponents already apply GBA+ types of analysis in developing their projects and work hard to address such effects through project-related mitigations or program support to identified communities. As indicated in the example above, some companies will establish a work camp outside of the local community to avoid increasing demand on limited housing stocks, which could otherwise drive up rental prices beyond the financial capacity of local residents, which could have disproportionate impacts on some vulnerable groups. Additional measures are often implemented by proponents to further address related concerns identified by communities (e.g., cultural competency training, safety protocols).

Similarly, many provinces in Canada already consider GBA+. For example, in revised environmental assessment legislation, British Columbia included a requirement to assess disproportionate effects across population groups, including by gender. Since 2007, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has required that proponents of resource development projects develop and implement Gender Equity and Diversity Plans including a women’s employment plan to enhance diversity in hiring and enhance positive project benefits across subgroups of the population.

The Government of Canada has long required GBA+ analysis in the development of policies and laws. It requires the consideration of such analysis when Cabinet renders justification decisions under CEAA 2012 for projects in which significant adverse environmental effects have been identified. Knowing that mitigations are in place for potentially vulnerable communities provides the public and decision makers with a more complete picture of a project’s effects. As with current practice, enforceable conditions for effects within federal jurisdiction may be required of a proponent of an approved project. Effects outside of federal jurisdiction will be described in the impact statement but not formally conditioned by the federal government. Complementary measures such as labour market support programs may be implemented to address or mitigate other effects, including those identified by GBA+.

GBA+ in practice

Why gender matters: A resource guide for integrating gender considerations into communities work at Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto International has a detailed guide to applying gender-based analysis plus in their projects internationally. Key steps and practices include:

  1. Inclusive engagement: “ensure that women and men from different social groups are consulted and can participated in engagement and development in meaningful ways.”
  2. Know and understand: “integrate gender issues into all baseline assessments”; “consider gender impacts for different stages of mine life.”
  3. Plan and implement: “Use gender sensitive methodologies to plan and implement community engagement and programme initiatives. Develop other operational plans and standard operating procedures with potential gender impacts in mind.”
  4. Monitor, evaluate and improve: “Use a monitoring framework that includes gender sensitive indicators, underpinned by credible data, which is updated regularly.”
  5. Report and communicate: “Publicly report on what action each site is taking to address gender issues and the outcomes of these actions. Present gender-disaggregated data for key performance areas in site reports.”

Reference: http://www.riotinto.com/documents/ReportsPublications/Rio_Tinto_gender_guide.pdf

What kinds of questions does GBA+ consider?

  • Who might be affected by the designated project? How do we know? Will these positive and/or negative impacts be different for subgroups in the community?
  • Is there evidence that suggests that the project may impact diverse groups differently?
  • Does the assessment address this evidence and, where relevant, provide a rationale as to why potential differences are investigated or are not investigated?
  • How does the social and historical context of the potentially impacted community affect how people may be impacted by the designated project?
  • Are there inequitable structures or systems within communities that may affect who participates in the impact assessment process, the views that are heard or what information is considered? Have steps been taken to create inclusive and safe engagement and consultation opportunities to hear diverse voices?
  • Are baseline profiles of communities available, disaggregated by age, ethnicity, sex or other community relevant factors to support analysis?
Tips: What should the Proponent’s GBA+ include?

Integration of GBA+

Include GBA+ as part of the overall analysis including baseline and effects analysis. Findings are described throughout the impact statement where relevant. Move beyond simply disaggregating data to analysis of potential positive and negative impacts.

Diverse subgroups considered

Consider multiple, community-relevant, diverse subgroups in assessing potential effects of the project.

Data

Present data, information, and community and Indigenous knowledge that clearly illustrates follow through from baseline to effects analysis. Describe gaps or limitations in data or information.

Mitigation

Clearly link mitigation measures or voluntary measures (where relevant) proposed by the proponent to the issues identified in the GBA+.

Follow-up

Link indicators for follow-up to GBA+ analysis and propose relevant indicators and data collection for diverse subgroups.

In the end, by more fully accounting for potential positive and negative effects across diverse groups, GBA+ supports more transparent, informed and inclusive decision-making.

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