Chairperson's Update: April - May | Announcing New CCD Resource Guide on GBA Plus Analysis

In this Update, I am pleased to share with you the Gender-based Analysis Plus Quick Resource Guide that was approved by the CCD Council at its May Council meeting.

The Resource Guide is for all our organizations. I invite you to use it as we work toward making our organizations more inclusive of everyone in the disability community. ~ Heather Walkus, CCD Chairperson

Gender-based Analysis Plus Quick Resource Guide

Prepared for Council of Canadians with Disabilities | Approved May 21, 2024 by CCD Council

Definition of Gender-based Analysis (GBA) Plus:

Gender-based Analysis (GBA) Plus, is an analytical tool that is used in program/project development and research, and that is focused on understanding the intersectional realities of populations we serve. Gender-based Analysis (GBA) Plus works to eliminate barriers and biases, by first having program/project developers and researchers gain a solid understanding of the realities, and often multiple identities, lived and felt – sometimes in a hidden way – by everyday people. Gender-based Analysis (GBA) Plus considers many factors such as sex, gender, age, disability, education, ethnicity, economic status, geography, language, race, religion, and sexual orientation, in its analysis of situations and the impact of programs/projects, on people (Women and Gender Equality Canada, 2023).

Why would a GBA Plus Analysis benefit us?

GBA Plus benefits organizations, because it supports program/project implementors and researchers, to positively impact as many people as possible who would benefit from the type of support offered. It allows decision-makers to closely analyze and reflect on the purpose of their initiative, and match that with a guided analysis of who might benefit most, and how to enable the project/program or research activity to maximize the support to those most in need. Further, it seeks to make decision-makers reflect on elements of exclusion or inclusion they may not have considered when designing the initiative, and on eliminating barriers by posing reflective questions on the population(s) served, and – contrastingly – the population(s) not served.

In terms of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities’ work, accessibility is a spectrum, and many folks with disabilities are multi-marginalized and fall in other categories of systemic marginalization; being able to reflect on who is and isn’t being included in a program/project, translates into making sure our services are impacting the most amount of people, in the best way possible.

Check-Lists – Things to do to implement GBA Plus in the following areas:

Policy Development Check-List:

1. Consider the macro-level: determine the broader socio-economic issue that is being addressed in this policy development process.

2. Accounting for various groups’ experiences: ensure that the policy development takes into account experiences of marginalized groups, in defining what the broader issue is.
Determine whether there any marginalized groups that are left out of this consideration, either by necessity, scope or accident, and reflect on the impact.
3. Policy development should take into account the inter-related aspects of gender/social norms and power dynamics, specifically when working on policy development affecting marginalized groups.
4. Policy development should consider *and* consult the variability of identities, of clients who would be impacted by the policy – you must assess whether this policy will affect your population served, in unanticipated ways, through any intersecting identities they may have.

Project Implementation Check-List:

1. Explore current approaches – learn about what others are doing.

2. Ask questions to challenge biases / assumptions.
a. Who will be affected by your project.
b. Whether certain groups be excluded from participating in your project, and if this can be prevented.
c. If there are any unintended consequences that your project could create.
d. Whether there are existing frameworks that benefit or disadvantage certain groups, and if you can work with or plan around this.
3. Gather data to help inform your questions, listed above.
4. Analyze data, and re-consider the impact on the population you serve.
5. Implement your initiative, monitor it, and evaluate its effectiveness.
6. Document your findings and record progress with respect to GBA Plus.

Service Delivery Check-List:

1. Ensure that is there diversity among both the participants and staff. Plan for a way to maintain this throughout the service delivery.
a. Consider if there are ways you can obtain your staff in a more equitable or intentional way, that mirrors the diversity you want to have in the service delivery.
2. Avoid inadvertent barriers: consider whether staff or participants may encounter inadvertent barriers while delivering/receiving service. Identify ways pre-emptively that any barriers could be addressed.
3. Training: Staff should receive training on how to create a barrier-free and inclusive service delivery environment for project participants, and colleagues.
4. Consider your service delivery methods: Your service delivery method(s) should adequately support the population you are hoping to serve, and should be accessible to all. 

Program Evaluation Check-List:

1. Gather your full picture (target population): Ensure you have an adequate picture of the target populations served in the project.
2. Designed by the people, for the people: Ensure you have representation from the target population, and from other intersectionally-related groups as applicable, during both the project development/implementation, and during the project evaluation process, in order to strengthen potential improvements.
3. Consider whether your project outcome supported/supports varying identities.
4. Your project should remove barriers, not continue them: Consider whether your project removes barriers for various marginalized groups. If there were/are any barriers, make it your goal to adapt your project to remove them.
5. Assess whether there are some target populations that are served better/more directly, than others: Make modifications to include other intersectionally-marginalized groups, that could be supported to the same extent.
6. Consider how you will sustain offering the equality-increasing features of the program/project you’ve implemented.

Research Activities Check-List:

1. Make sure you get the full picture – consult your population directly, and other historically-marginalized populations, to gain perspective. Consider specific unique situations of your target population(s), as well as full historical, culture-specific and socio-economic context surrounding the issue you are researching.
2. Use mixed methods: quantitative and qualitative data are both relevant: Both kinds of data collection have their place in a successful and meaningful GBA Plus analysis, as they both tell different sides of the diversity and inclusion story – quantitative gives you numbers and the amount of participants or subjects; qualitative gives you the insight into how your research can impact the subject area, how your project is helping, and how it can pave the way for improvement.
a. For certain marginalized communities (for example First Nations, Inuit and Métis), a solely quantitative approach to collecting data may unintentionally overlook the knowledge often passed down orally through community engagement.
3. Receive the data – don’t take: Stakeholders ideally should participate in the data collection process, so as to incorporate their experience and place. Best practice is to remember that communities should:
a. own the knowledge, data and information;
b. control the information management and overall research as it impacts them;
c. have access to information and data about their own communities; and
d. possess the legal final say toward your research data and how it is used and protected.

Possible GBA Scenarios

Set out below are three scenarios which provide examples of how to conduct an intersectionality analysis of programs, policies or legislation. These are fictional scenarios and are provided for illustrative purposes only. The questions outlined below represent a sampling of data that may be helpful when designing new initiatives. Each situation will require its own unique and specific questions tailored to the desired outcomes of the initiative in question. Nevertheless, before launching a new initiative it is important to take the time to collect the data you will need and identify the steps to be taken to ensure that the initiative is fully inclusive.

Scenario #1: Fitness Program

A local recreational group is planning to offer a free fitness program for the neighbourhood in which it is located. Here are some of the questions it considered to ensure a successful and inclusive program:
• How will potential participants be consulted about what kind of fitness program would be most helpful?
• Will an analysis be conducted to identify the unique needs of particular groups?
• Is the facility accessible to all persons with disabilities?
• Will disability-related supports be needed?
• Is the facility close to a main transportation route?
• Will some participants require childcare in order to participate?
• Are there cultural safety issues that the program should be aware of?
• Will language interpretation be required?
• Should the program be open to all genders or are there safety reasons for limiting the program to certain genders?
• Will a variety of formats be used to advertise the program?
• What tools can be used to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to provide feedback?
• Will the program be evaluated to identify the impact on participants with various backgrounds including age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, etc.?

Scenario #2: Employment and Making Management More Inclusive

A medium size employer has determined that its middle and senior management positions do not represent a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. It wishes to take steps to ensure a more representative workforce. In addition to many of the questions identified above, the following specific questions may be of further assistance:
• Has data been collected analyzing the representation of equity groups in all levels of management?
• Where are equity groups underrepresented?
• Are employees of equity groups encouraged to participate in leadership/ training programs, and do such programs take into account the various needs/differences of such employees?
• What programs and policies are needed to support and promote employees from equity groups into management positions?
• Will such programs/policies be regularly monitored and evaluated and adjusted as needed?
• Does the workplace promote cultural safety and respect?
• Are there policies that recognize and support flexibility and a variety of options for completing job duties?
• Are members of equity groups vulnerable to the “glass ceiling” effect?
• Will members of equity groups have a say in what programs/policies are needed to increase diversity in management and how such programs/policies are evaluated? 

Scenario #3: Designing a Disability Benefit

A national government has introduced a disability benefit to assist people with disabilities with disability-related costs. To access this benefit a person with a disability must demonstrate that, owing to their disability, on a daily basis they require assistance with tasks such as dressing, bathing and hygiene care, meal preparation, mobility, housework and so on. A local advocacy group is planning to assess the effectiveness of this benefit and how it is impacting the lives of people with disabilities. Their assessment includes the following questions:
• Who qualifies and who doesn’t qualify for the benefit?
• What types of disabilities tend to be accepted as meeting the eligibility criteria?
• For those who do not qualify, what is the nature of their disability and what barriers do they face?
• How do these barriers impact their quality of life and capacity to participate in life activities?
• For those who do not qualify, are there certain groups such as women, racial minorities or persons living in remote regions who experience a greater impact on their  daily lives because of their disability?
• For those who do qualify, what is the gender/race/socioeconomic/geographic breakdown?
• Does the eligibility criteria of “requiring daily assistance with certain tasks” include all persons who experience serious barriers because of their disability? 

Annotated Bibliography

Collaborative for Health and Home (2020, June). “Gender-based Analysis Checklist”.
This resource, prepared by the Women’s Centre of Calgary on behalf of the Collaborative for Health and Home, provides a comprehensive checklist of elements to consider on a number of differing factors, to ensure projects and initiatives – specifically serving people who are experiencing a housing challenge – are developed and designed with equity in mind, and to ensure marginalized populations are heard.

Department of Justice Canada (2022, May 6). “Policy on Gender-Based Analysis Plus: Applying an Intersectional Approach to Foster Inclusion and Address Inequities”.
The Government of Canada’s Department of Justice has developed a policy on GBA Plus. The policy notes a few key recommendations and suggestions that support development of other GBA Plus strategies and lenses, outside of a government context.

Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (2019). “Métis-specific Gender-Based Analy sis Plus (GBA+) Tool”. 
This tool supports organizations in examining the policies, programs and initiatives based on the realities of today’s Métis population, considering the impacts of colonization and more covert marginalization many Métis peoples continue to face today. This Métis-specific GBA Plus tool aids organizations in creating a more equitable program or service, as it allows people to learn more about the unique elements of what constitutes equality and what factors need to be considered for fair engagement, from a Métis female, two-spirit and gender-diverse perspective. This GBA Plus framework considers the historical, political, cultural and contemporary realities of Métis peoples.

The First Nations Information Governance Centre (2023, July 25). "The First Nations Principles of OCAP®". 
This resource provides a comprehensive overview of the First Nations principles of ownership, control, access, and possession (OCAP®). OCAP® is a registered trademark of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC). This concept of OCAP® is integral for ensuring that research is conducted from a community-centered view that prioritizes the health, safety and well-being of people, and the sustainability of communities as being unique, independent and strong.

reasury Board of Canada Secretariat (2019, September 30). “Integrating Gender-Based Analysis Plus into Evaluation: A Primer (2019)”.
This resource gives a wealth of information to support organizations in evaluating their initiatives for GBA Plus integration. The resource poses questions for organizational staff to consider when evaluating an initiative, on whether it aligns well with GBA Plus principles. The resource also provides information for evaluating Theories of Change and Logic Models.

Women and Gender Equality Canada (2021, April 14). "Gender-based Analysis Plus research guide".
This resource provides a good framework to begin research into GBA Plus, and also provides research questions to consider depending on the organization and topic, to help organizations first and foremost frame their research to be meaningful and impactful, depending on their specific lens or subject.