What is Gender-based Analysis Plus

Have you or someone you know taken parental leave, been treated for heart disease, immigrated to Canada or used a Primary Inspection Kiosk upon returning to Canada at one of our major airports? These are examples of areas where the Government of Canada has used Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) to explore the changing realities and inequalities of diverse groups of people.

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About Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus)

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) is an analytical tool used to support the development of responsive and inclusive policies, programs, and other initiatives. GBA Plus is a process for understanding who is impacted by the issue or opportunity being addressed by the initiative; identifying how the initiative could be tailored to meet diverse needs of the people most impacted; and anticipating and mitigating any barriers to accessing or benefitting from the initiative. 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 (including rurality), language, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Using GBA Plus involves taking a gender- and diversity-sensitive approach to our work. Considering all intersecting identity factors as part of GBA Plus, not only sex and gender, is a Government of Canada commitment.

For more information about identity factors go to Government of Canada’s Approach, or take the Introduction to GBA Plus online course.

GBA Plus and gender equality

In 1995, the Government of Canada committed to using GBA Plus to advance gender equality in Canada, as part of the ratification of the United Nations’ Beijing Platform for Action.

Gender equality is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Constitution of Canada. Gender equality means that diverse groups of women, men and gender diverse people are able to participate fully in all spheres of Canadian life, contributing to an inclusive and democratic society.

The Government recently renewed its commitment to GBA Plus and is working to strengthen its implementation across all federal departments.

To learn more about the Government’s renewed commitment, including its response to the 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada “Implementing Gender-based Analysis”, view the:

Achieving gender equality depends on closing key gaps between diverse groups of women, men and gender diverse people.

For more information about the history of GBA Plus in Canada, see the history of GBA Plus module of the Introduction to GBA Plus online course.


Myth: Women and men are already equal in Canada, so GBA Plus is not needed.

While many advances have been made, significant equality gaps remain. Today, even women in Canada who work full-time earn on average only 87 cents to every dollar earned by men (Statistics Canada, 2017). Women are also more often the victims of domestic and sexual violence. They also continue to be under-represented in leadership and executive positions, occupying just 23% of board positions in Canada’s top 500 corporations (Canadian Board Diversity Council 2017 Report Card). The gap is even larger for women with particular intersecting identify factors, such as transwomen and women with a disability.

Gender equality benefits everyone in a society, and GBA Plus can improve the situations of women, men and gender diverse people. For example, in the same way that women were left out of heart disease research because it was seen as a “man’s disease,” men have historically been overlooked in osteoporosis research. While osteoporosis is often considered a disease of post-menopausal women, men actually account for nearly a third of osteoporosis-related hip fractures. Limited data for gender diverse individuals is an indicator that the impacts on gender diverse people have not always been sufficiently considered in different initiatives.

Myth: GBA Plus only applies to women’s issues, it is advocacy for women.

GBA Plus is not advocacy. It is an analytical process designed to help us ask questions, challenge assumptions and identify potential impacts, taking into account the diversity of Canadians.

In addition to sex and gender, GBA Plus considers all identity factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental and physical disability. Once an issue has undergone the GBA Plus process, gender may emerge as the most important factor, while in other cases it might be any or a combination of factors and their intersection that influence a person’s experience of a government policy, program or initiative.

Your department’s mandate could also impact your entry point for GBA Plus. You might begin with ethnicity, or with disability. However, regardless of the entry point, every human cell has a sex and every person is gendered, and sex and gender must not be neglected in your analysis.

Myth: GBA Plus only applies to the “social” sectors.

All government policies and programs affect people. While gender and diversity issues may be more obvious in some areas, such as education and health, and less obvious in others, such as natural resources and defence, this does not necessarily mean that gender is not relevant. GBA Plus can and has been used in all federal sectors and domains. For example, using GBA Plus to assess large-scale procurement projects can help to ensure that equipment and products meet diverse needs. It can also help to ensure that strong hiring strategies are implemented within the public service to ensure workplace diversity.

GBA Plus Awareness Week

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) Awareness Week is a chance for federal organizations to plan learning events and activities that highlight what is GBA Plus, how it supports their work and creates effective policies, programs and services.

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