Annex: Gender based analysis plus

Introduction

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to consider other identity factors such as ethnicity, age, income level, and mental or physical ability.

The Government of Canada has been committed to using gender-based analysis, and more recently, to GBA+, in the development of policies, programs and legislation since 1995. GBA+ provides federal officials with the means to attain better results for Canadians by being more responsive to specific needs and ensuring that government policies and programs are inclusive and barrier-free.

As GBA+ analysis should be used across the policy, program and regulatory development cycles – from conception to design to implementation and evaluation – this annex highlights the initial results from the initial policy development phase. The Government will conduct additional GBA+ analysis for each policy and program to maximize positive benefits for those most impacted by the negative effects of climate change, including low-income Canadians, women, Indigenous communities, and people living in rural and remote areas. Additional analysis will also contribute to a better understanding of the demographic groups and social identity factors that are most and least likely to experience direct benefits from policies and programs either supported or created from key proposed measures. Further, mitigation strategies will be developed should any measures be found to exacerbate or perpetuate inequalities.

Indigenous commu0nities and people living in northern and remote areas experience disproportionate impacts from climate change. Budget 2019 notes that people living on First Nations reserves in Canada are on average 18 times more likely to be evacuated because of disasters such as wildfires, floods and severe storms, compared to people living off reserve. Census data shows that Indigenous peoples also experience low income (23.6%) at much higher rates than non-Indigenous people (13.8%), which increases their exposure to the negative impacts and risks of climate change for a variety of reasons including a more limited ability to prepare their homes for extreme weather and to repair them after extreme events.

Supporting the environment, human health and inclusivity

Climate change presents significant risks to human health and safety. The World Health Organization has called climate change the greatest threat to health in the 21st century, and health authorities globally have identified climate change as a leading threat to human health and health care systems. Climate change challenges Canada’s health systems, impacting patient care and increasing health-care costs, and has harmful effects on air quality and food and water security. Intensifying climatic changes will significantly affect the daily lives of Canadians including through erratic climate and weather extremes, altered ecosystems and economic sectors.

Canada is warming faster than twice the global average rate and the Canadian Arctic is warming at about three times the global rate.Footnote 1 As highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Government of Canada recognizes that people who are marginalized through social, economic, cultural, political, or other factors have heightened vulnerability to the risks posed by climate change.Footnote 2 This vulnerability is often a product of multiple intersecting social factors that lead to socioeconomic and income inequalities and increased exposure to climate risks. These factors include age, region of residence, sex, gender, experience of colonial legacies, education, ethnicity, race, mental or physical disability, and income.

The Government of Canada’s plan for a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy is expected to benefit all Canadians by helping to alleviate the negative impacts of climate change. More ambitious climate action can 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. It will also reduce the vulnerability of Canadian communities to climate change impacts. The proposed plan can reduce economic losses from natural disasters and extreme weather events. The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices reported that insured losses from severe weather totaled over $18 billion between 2010 and 2019.

Climate change threatens to impact health at an unprecedented scale, particularly among vulnerable populations such as children, seniors, and Indigenous peoples, and its consequences are already being felt both globally and here in Canada. A warming climate is expected to worsen air quality including through increased smog and wildfire activity. Research from Duke University shows that the negative effects of air pollution on health are approximately twice as bad as previously thought. The research also shows that keeping to a 2°C pathway would prevent 4.5 million premature deaths and about 3.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits in the U.S.

Policies to expand the use of clean electricity can improve air quality and reduce exposure to air pollutants that are linked to premature deaths, asthma, respiratory, and cardiovascular problems.Footnote 3 The benefits of increased use of zero emission vehicles would accrue to all individuals, in particular those residing in urban and suburban areas (over 80% of Canadians).Footnote 4 Evidence shows that reducing carbon pollution can provide co-benefits for health outcomes and well-being for communities, particularly the young, older adults, people with physical or mental health issues, and people in low-income groups.

Over the long term, environmental and health benefits from reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution are expected to benefit all Canadians. Considering intergenerational impacts, children born now will experience human health impacts of climate change throughout their lives, and across the world, children are among the worst affected by climate change.Footnote 5 As a result, it is expected that future generations will benefit over the long term from measures to fight climate change and grow a clean economy.

Measures to improve energy efficiency can help lower energy bills, make homes more comfortable through better insulation and more energy efficient windows and doors, and reduce GHG emissions to help Canada meet its climate change target. Investments in clean technology, including low-emission and climate resilient green infrastructure are expected to support healthier and safer environments for isolated and northern populations, and a more reliable, energy efficient power supply can reduce financial losses experienced by businesses as a result of outages, such as a restaurant that loses food inventory through spoilage.Footnote 6

We also know that Indigenous communities face a particularly severe infrastructure deficit, and that recent immigrants, racialized groups, seniors, parents and low-income Canadians rely on having access to safe and affordable community spaces. The Government of Canada’s plan for a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy includes investments to upgrade municipal and community buildings. With these improvements, governments and organizations can save money and offer more public services, such as employment advice, childcare, healthcare and welcoming resources for newcomers to Canada. The plan also includes the creation of national infrastructure assessment that will seek the advice of provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous groups, and the private sector to guide public infrastructure spending in a way that promotes jobs and growth, fosters inclusivity and social equality, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Promoting a fair, inclusive recovery for everyone

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy presents challenges and opportunities. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting industrial transformation through deployment of innovative technologies, and ensuring industry is well-positioned to benefit from new economic opportunities. It is essential that workers in carbon-intensive industries, where global markets and technologies continue to evolve rapidly, are supported to gain the new skills they need to thrive in a diversified, net-zero emission economy. In communities most affected by this transition, policies will be responsive to local needs and ensure that workers are at the centre of job creation and diversification efforts. Principles of a fair recovery will be built into policy planning, such as was done to promote social equity in the transition away from coal-fired electricity following the recommendations of the Just Transition Task Force for Coal Power Workers and Communities. For example, efforts to increase skills, training and capacity for energy auditors will examine approaches to reduce barriers preventing or discouraging the full participation of underrepresented groups in the energy efficiency workforce, including women, Indigenous and racialized people.

In general, when new jobs are created, certain demographic groups are typically more likely to benefit due to higher representation in specific sectors. For example, women face institutional barriers to participation in STEM occupations in Canada and are significantly underrepresented across the industry,Footnote 7 and 2017 data shows that jobs in the environmental and clean technology (ECT) sector are predominantly filled by men, who made up 71.8% of all ECT workers while women only accounted for 28.2% in the sector.Footnote 8 While Canadian data on the experiences of LGBTQ2+ people in the workplace is limited, international research shows that many experience discrimination in the workplace and hiring processes.Footnote 9 Research from the United Kingdom shows widespread discrimination across the construction industry, with 1 in 4 people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual experiencing offensive comments about their sexuality at work in the previous year, and only 10% describing the industry as a great place to work.Footnote 10 Women are historically underrepresented in the construction industry, and recent analysis of the gender wage gap found the sector as being the number one known contributor to the gender wage gap in Canada due to the high average rate of pay.Footnote 11 The persistence of wage gaps along gender and race-based lines suggest that new job opportunities will yield fewer benefits for women and racialized Canadians. In 2018, women earned on average 87 cents per dollar earned by men (aged 25-54).Footnote 12 Canada’s most recent census data (2016) 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 13 Consideration of these realities will be accounted for in program design and in complementary federal programs that aim to improve the economic empowerment of historically disadvantaged and underrepresented individuals and communities.

The Government of Canada is pursuing approaches to working with Indigenous peoples, provinces, and territories, which can help to mitigate unequal geographic impacts of new climate measures. For example, as the production of ZEV batteries is dependent upon mineral extraction, the increased uptake of ZEVs could increase the intensity of mining operations near remote and Indigenous communities. While the vast majority of these impacts can be offset through the adoption of zero-emission heavy-duty equipment, project evaluation under Canada’s Impact Assessment Act, and the recognition and implementation of Indigenous peoples’ Aboriginal and Treaty rights, ongoing partnerships with Indigenous peoples will help ensure everyone benefits from Canada’s climate measures.

Working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis representatives and rights-holders on a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy will help ensure that Indigenous peoples have the tools and resources they need to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change experienced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit across Canada. The proposed policies support the inclusion of Indigenous-led solutions and seek to advance the self-determination of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, consistent with the Government’s reconciliation agenda. Canada’s climate plan will support Indigenous climate strategies and will contain solutions developed in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

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