JFK’s Isabelle Lefroy co-authored an article in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law with Dr. Jocelyn Stacey about the gender-based analysis plus requirement in the federal Impact Assessment Act and its implications for the distributional impacts of resource development on marginalized communities.
Major projects, such as mines, dams, and pipelines impose disproportionate social and environmental harms on marginalized communities. Environmental impact assessment, a central legal framework for approving these projects, has historically failed to identify and address these impacts, thus perpetuating environmental injustice across the country. Changes to the federal impact assessment legislation in 2019 appear to offer a partial response. The new legislation mandates gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) as part of the assessment for major projects. This article considers the potential for mandatory GBA+ to encode intersectionality in impact assessment and begin to address the systemic discrimination carried out through impact assessment laws. It finds that, while the new requirement will make it more challenging for proponents and decision-makers to ignore the allocation of disproportionate burdens and harms, the current framing and implementation of GBA+ represents an additive or check-box approach to addressing discrimination and thus falls short of its intersectional aim.
This article is relevant to our clients who are engaged in consultation processes with resource development project proponents and the federal government and can be viewed here.