Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently released an internal letter with suggestions derived from the most recent Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA) assessment, which was made public by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).
The audit ascertains whether government agencies use GBA while putting policies and initiatives into effect. The audit conducted this year also attempted to learn what steps had been done since the audit in 2015.
According to the report’s findings, the government is unable to determine whether using Gender-Based Analysis Plus is resulting in improved gender equality results for certain categories of individuals.
GBA Plus: What is it?
In 1995, gender-based analysis was put into practice to help identify and address the disparities that women and girls faced in government initiatives, programs, and activities. Since then, the GBA has changed its name to GBA Plus to reflect its expansion to include additional identification characteristics like age, sexual orientation, disabilities, and location, all of which may overlap.
According to the paper, a lack of disaggregated data and a lack of government regulation in programs that would profit from gender-based analysis are the main causes of the information gap. This indicates that most departments are applying a one-size-fits-all approach to their departmental GBA Plus policies and programs when it comes to GBA Plus, without taking into account additional intersecting elements and monitoring the results.
WAGE (Women and Gender Equality Canada) informed OAG that there is a lack of consensus over how to interpret the intersectional elements of GBA Plus analysis. They claim that, in certain instances, the only identifying characteristics used in departmental results that discuss the effects of GBA Plus were gender and sex. Others, on the other hand, used distinct diversity variables to disaggregate data without taking sex or gender into account.
A lack of senior management oversight and challenges with meeting deadlines for formulating policy initiatives are also cited in the audit as reasons why GBA policy implementation has been problematic. Additionally, it appears that government departments lack the resources to educate the public about GBA Plus and its importance.
OAG requested WAGE to offer departments and agencies greater training, useful resources, and direction when they submit GBA Plus applications. In response, WAGE informed the OAG that they have met this demand since 2016 by providing departments and interdepartmental committees with more than 30 training sessions.
IRCC’s response to the report’s suggestions
The IRCC has internal proposals to better integrate GBA Plus into its everyday operations in response to the OAG report.
In order to establish an equality policy community of practice and develop data standards for the gathering and integration of disaggregated data, IRCC first suggests that the department reinstate its GBA Plus working group. The 2011 GBA policy will also be updated, with a stronger focus on intersectionality, anti-racism, and digital change.
The Chief Data Officer Branch is presently creating a disaggregated data architecture, according to the government, to better close gaps in ethnocultural diversity and intersecting characteristics, such as gender. The new data map will be used by IRCC to support its anti-racism efforts, including the effects of GBA Plus on new and ongoing programs and activities.
The OAG suggests that government agencies keep tabs on the progress of GBA Plus implementation and publicly report on it.
According to IRCC, these reports are already being produced in accordance with the rules established by the TBS and the Immigration, Refugees Protection Act (IRPA), the federal law that governs immigration in Canada.
Describe the OAG.
The OAG is entrusted with presenting the parliament with unbiased information on government initiatives and programs in order to assess their efficacy. This data makes it easier to hold the government responsible and confirms that it is meeting program goals and objectives.
The OAG closely collaborated with the TBS, the Privy Council Office (PCO), and WAGE to assess the success of the 2015 audit’s gender equality goals. The TBS is in charge of upholding ethics and accountability in government agencies and aids in setting a standard for openness among them.