Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan - Annex 7

Gender-based Analysis +


GBA Plus is an analytical tool used by the Government of Canada to support the development of responsive and inclusive initiatives, including policies, programs, and other initiatives. GBA Plus is a process for understanding who is impacted by the issue being addressed by the initiative; identifying how the initiative could be tailored to meet diverse needs of the people most impacted; assessing systematic inequalities; and anticipating and mitigating any barriers to accessing or benefitting from the initiative. Moreover, GBA Plus is an intersectional analysis that goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to consider other factors, such as age, disability, education, ethnicity, economic status, geography, language, race, religion, and sexual orientation and how these coalesce with systems of inequality.

An intersectional GBA Plus is particularly relevant in understanding how climate change overlaps with a range of social issues such as racial or ethnic marginalization, gendered discrimination, urban/rural divides and poverty that all shape climate justice. In addition to disproportionate risks to climate impacts, certain groups are under-represented in green growth industries that represent an important part of Canada’s strategy to transition to a more decarbonized economy. While certain populations are vastly under-represented in climate policy, they can play an important role in improving climate outcomes. For instance, Indigenous knowledge and practices can – and are – contributing to increasing climate resilience.

Climate change threatens human health and exacerbates inequality

Climate change challenges Canada’s health systems, impacting patient care and increasing health-care costs; it also has harmful effects on air quality as well as food and water security. Intensification of climatic changes will significantly affect the daily lives of people in Canada including through erratic climate and weather extremes, altered ecosystems, and impacts on economic sectors.

Indigenous communities and people living in northern and remote areas already experience disproportionate impacts from climate change, such as the loss of ice, snow and permafrost in northern Canada which has incalculable costs to infrastructure, well-being, and livelihoods in Inuit Nunangat. The Canadian Climate Institute found that the average cost per disaster has jumped 1250% since the 1970s. The Insurance Bureau of Canada found that severe weather caused $2.1 billion in insured damage in 2021 and said that the “new normal” for insured losses from severe weather events across Canada is $2 billion per year.Footnote 1  Uninsured losses are estimated to be double that amount.Footnote 2 

Taking action to reach Canada’s 2030 and 2050 emissions targets can contribute to reducing risks of the negative impacts of climate change. As highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its recent Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, there is a direct correlation between human and ecosystem vulnerability. While climate change impacts everyone, its effects are profoundly discriminatory, falling hardest upon the most vulnerable elements of society, including certain populations of women, children, the economically disadvantaged, racialized, elderly, disabled, etc. People who experience systemic inequalities due to racism, colonialism and other systems of oppression and additional barriers due to their social, economic, cultural, and/or other identity factors, are subject to heightened risks and disproportionate impacts posed by climate change. This can be further exacerbated when considering intersecting identity factors.

Upstream drivers of health inequities, including social, cultural, economic, and political structures, as well as existing systems of oppression, including systemic racism, colonialism, and climate change, result in the unequal distribution of power and resources.Footnote 3  People who experience disproportionate negative impacts of climate change on food security “are those who already experience high burdens of ill health, such as people living on a low income, seniors, members of racialized communities, households headed by single women, and persons with disabilities”.Footnote 4  Indigenous Peoples, in particular experience disproportionate effects of climate change, which negatively impacts their unique relationship to the land. Food insecurity is notably higher in the Canadian North compared to the rest of the country, and barriers for Indigenous Peoples’ access to traditional foods persist. In 2019, the proportion of Indigenous Peoples with moderate or severe food insecurity was more than double that of the overall population.Footnote 5 

There is also an increasing body of global literature confirming a correlation between climate events and significant increases in gender-based violence and sexual assault. For example, women are more likely to experience domestic violence as a result of extreme events such as flooding, and women who experience post-flood violence are more likely to report depression;Footnote 6  prolonged recovery and reconstruction (from disasters) can leave displaced women and girls in camps and shelters where they are at heightened risk of experiencing violence.Footnote 7 

Individuals’ adaptive capacity to cope with or manage climate change impacts is directly impacted by access to economic and other resources, and research has established that low-income households will experience the most difficulty in adapting to climate change.Footnote 8  Evidence shows that reducing carbon pollution can contribute to improved health outcomes and well-being for communities, particularly children, seniors, people with physical or mental disabilities, and people in low-income groups. In addition, policies to expand the use of clean electricity can improve air quality and reduce exposure to air pollutants. These benefits could accrue to a wide range of individuals, in particular those residing in urban and suburban areas (over 80% of Canadians) and those with respiratory or other health conditions.

Supporting communities for a low-carbon future

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy presents challenges and opportunities for Canadian workers and communities. It is essential that workers in carbon-intensive industries, such as energy workers, be supported to gain the new skills they need to thrive in a diversified, net-zero emission economy. Access to adaptation and mitigation solutions is dependent on a series of enabling factors that often are less readily available for Indigenous communities. Moving forward, it will be important for policies to be responsive to local needs and ensure that workers and communities are at the centre of job creation and diversification efforts.

When new jobs are created, certain demographic groups are more likely to benefit due to multiple factors, including higher representation in specific sectors. For example, research shows that jobs in the environmental and clean technology sector are predominantly filled by men, who made up 71.8% of workers in 2017.Footnote 9  Moreover, the persistence of wage gaps along gender and race-based lines suggest that new job opportunities will yield fewer benefits for women and racialized communities in Canada. When comparing median hourly wages of women and men (aged 15+) working full-time in 2021, women earned 88 cents for every dollar earned by men.Footnote 10  Census data shows that a wage gap between racialized and non-racialized workers continues to persist, with racialized men earning 78 cents for every dollar earned by non-racialized men; the wage gap is compounded for racialized women, who earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by non-racialized men.Footnote 11  The transition to a low carbon economy represents an opportunity to address existing inequalities in the workplace, and enhance and improve training supports for people facing barriers in the workforce due to factors related Indigeneity, race, ethnicity, age, gender and disability.


The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan is expected to benefit diverse groups of people in Canada by helping to alleviate the negative impacts of climate change and strengthening Canada’s ability to meet net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan also includes several measures designed to directly benefit communities affected by climate change, and those seeking to reduce the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, including those who live in remote and rural communities.

These commitments aim to increase Canada’s ambition and to reduce the intensity and frequency of climate change-related impacts on the environment, such as higher temperatures, variable precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, severe floods, wildfires, drought, and other extreme weather events. This will benefit groups that are disproportionately affected by the negative effects of climate change, including children, low-income communities, seniors, and Indigenous peoples. The Integrated Climate Lens, as discussed in chapter 5.1, will be leveraged to ensure these aspects are duly considered during the program development and design phase of individual policies and actions that result from the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

Page details

Date modified: