GBA+: Assistance to Canadians during natural disasters

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We all know that natural disasters, from earthquakes to major forest fires, ice storms and floods, can have devastating consequences.

But have you ever considered whether everyone is affected the same way?

As part of their mandate, the Canadian Armed Forces can be called on to assist with the response to such emergencies, like the flooding along the St Lawrence River in May 2017 which forced over 4000 people from their homes and affected close to 160 communities.

The Canadian Armed Forces applies Gender Based Analysis Plus, or GBA+ to the planning, conduct and evaluation of their operations. GBA+ leads to a better understanding of the impact that a natural disaster can have on different groups of people.

By identifying the diverse needs of different groups, the Canadian Armed Forces is able to better adapt their plans and subsequent actions.

GBA+ is an analytical process that assesses how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people might experience a situation differently. It’s an intersectional gender lens that takes into account sex and gender as well as other identity factors such as ethnicity, age or disability.

Some people are more vulnerable than others to the impacts of natural disasters.

In the case of flooding along the St-Lawrence River, GBA+ helped identify that groups such as people with reduced mobility, single parent households, the elderly, and people from linguistic and cultural minorities were all impacted differently.

GBA+ identified that not all affected populations required the same resources, at the same time, or delivered in the same way.

By considering the different needs of the affected population, the Canadian Armed Forces tailored their operation to better respond to residents’ unique circumstances.

For example the Canadian Armed Forces increased the security in areas where seniors were concerned about the security of their homes, used military vehicles to bring resources and services to areas based on unique needs, and in certain areas civilian personnel such as social workers were added to the teams patrolling in Zodiac boats to help put residents more at ease.

Engaging a diversity of perspectives when planning, conducting and evaluating Canadian Armed Forces operations makes our collective response more effective.

The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to apply an intersectional gender lens to better understand how all operations, at home or abroad, affect certain population groups differently.

Visit Status of Women Canada and check out their Demystifying GBA+ job aid on GCpedia.

Information is available upon request for those outside the Government of Canada.

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