Gender, Diversity & Resource Extraction

Geese fly in v-formation over a landscape of diminishing forest, power lines, and power plants.


FemNorthNet’s initial research unearthed two key findings:

  1. Resource extraction projects in Canada’s North often have negative impacts on the infrastructure, environment, economies, and social and cultural fabric of northern communities.
  2. Many people in northern communities, particularly women, have been excluded from decision-making processes for, and core benefits resulting from, resource extraction projects.

This information led us to wonder about what is being done to mitigate negative impacts and to ensure that all community members can better benefit from the opportunities resource extraction projects offer.

We knew from small-scale case studies within our work, such as the Labrador West Community Action Panel and the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Community Vitality Index, that models and tools for improving the situation in northern communities could be developed. So, with the support of a Knowledge Synthesis grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, FemNorthNet researchers asked:

  • What research, tools and policies exist and/or are planned to address the implications of resource extraction in Canada’s northern communities from a gendered, intersectional perspective?
  • What are thestructural opportunities, innovations and barriers in Canada’s federal and provincial policy and regulatory mechanisms to ensure a gendered, intersectional analysis?
  • What actions are required and by whom to ensure a gendered, intersectional analysis of the impacts of northern resource extraction? (For example, how can policy makers, researchers, and others address gaps and lack of access to relevant data?)

Find out what we learned by exploring our final Knowledge Synthesis Report: Gendered and Intersectional Implications of Energy and Resource Extraction in Resource-Based Communities in Canada's North. It provides recommendations on how governments, private sector companies, and communities can more effectively work together on these issues. The Knowledge Synthesis Report also informs two Policy Impact Papers we developed, with feedback from policymakers, to identify concrete measures to ensure more complete policy responses to the needs of diverse communities in the North.

Click here to read these publications.

Members of FemNorthNet have continued to apply the knowledge gained through research into what is being done to mitigate negative impacts and to ensure that all community members can better benefit from the opportunities resource extraction projects offer. This includes making a submission to an Expert Review Panel on federal Environmental Assessment (EA) processes in December, 2016 about the importance of requiring Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and using participatory research principles in Environmental Assessments.

Click here to read the submission on Requiring Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and Participatory Research Principles in Environmental Assessments.

In 2018 the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) asked CRIAW to conduct research to aid in the implementation of a new Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69). The new legislation, if adopted, will require proponents of major environmental projects to complete a holistic impact assessment to support their applications, considering several factors including any impacts the project may have on Indigenous Peoples, traditional knowledge and culture of Indigenous Peoples and the intersection of these factors with sex/gender. CRIAW’s research was meant to inform the development of the CEAA’s guidance for proponents, stakeholders, Indigenous groups, and internal staff in advance of Bill C-69 coming into force.

Members of FemNorthNet undertook research to:

  1. Identify major social, economic, health and cultural impacts that may be experienced by Indigenous women in the context of major resource development projects.
  2. Identify good practices for assessing and mitigating potential impacts on Indigenous women.
  3. Provide guidance to support the implementation of the proposed Impact Assessment Act, specifically the new requirements to consider “the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors” when examining potential social, economic, and health impacts of major projects.

​We provided two research papers. First, a synthesis report of key findings from Canadian literature and key informants, primarily Canadian Indigenous women, on the impacts of resource development on Indigenous women.

Click here to read the Literature Synthesis Report.

The second report is on how to strengthen impact assessment processes in order to identify and address the needs of Indigenous women. The report identifies principles and practices to guide proponents and governments to do a better job with identifying the impacts of major resource and infrastructure developments on Indigenous women. It suggests ways in which Indigenous Peoples’ knowledges can guide resource-related decisions, and how impact assessment processes and mitigation strategies can be more attentive and responsive to the experiences of Indigenous women.

Click here to read Strengthening Impact Assessments for Indigenous Women.

In 2019 CRIAW made two presentations to the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, to support the implementation of Bill C-69. In the initial submission, CRIAW argued in favour of Bill C-69’s inclusion of the “intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors;” 22(1) (s) to be considered in Impact Assessments. It drew on over a decade of research across a number of studies on the impacts of resource extraction on diverse women in Northern communities, as well as recent work on Strengthening Impact Assessments for Indigenous Women. The supplementary submission focuses on the importance of Indigenous and Northern women’s experiences and knowledges in impact assessments.

Click here to read CRIAW’s Submission to the Senate of Canada.

Click here to read CRIAW’s Supplementary Submission to the Senate of Canada.


Publications

 

Submission to the Senate of Canada

Written Submission to the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources

A brief submitted to the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in support of An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69), in 2019. 

 

 

 

Supplementary Submission to the Senate of Canada

The Importance of Indigenous and Northern Women's Experiences and Knowledges in Impact Assessments

This brief, submitted to the Senate of Canada's Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in 2019, supported the implementation of An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69). The submission highlights research findings accompanied by quotes from women with direct experience in resource-affected communities, a summary of points that contribute to the finding, and associated recommendations to improve the implementation of Bill C-69.

 

Literature Synthesis Report

Impacts of Resource Extraction for Indigenous Women

The purpose of this report is to summarize literature reporting on major social, economic, health and cultural impacts that may be experienced by Indigenous women in the context of resource development and extraction projects. This is done by understanding Indigenous women’s experiences surrounding resource extraction and considering how Indigenous knowledges can guide resource-related decisions, including ideas about how to understand and approach the diversity of impacts that can result from resource development and extraction. 

 

Intersectional Assessment and Guidelines for Impact Assessments

Strenghtening Impact Assessments for Indigenous Women

This report provides guidance for implementing new requirements in the Government of Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act, specifically to apply a feminist and intersectional lens when examining potential impacts of major resource-extraction projects on Indigenous women. The report draws on Indigenous women’s experiences surrounding resource development and considers how Indigenous Peoples’ knowledges can guide resource-related decisions in order to strengthen impact assessment processes for Indigenous women.

 

FemNorthNet Submission to the Expert Review Panel on Federal EA Processes

Requiring Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and Participatory Research Principles in Environmental Assessments  

This submission to the Expert Review Panel on Federal Environmental Assessment processes by FemNorthNet proposes the incorporation of mandatory Gender Based Analysis and participatory research methods and tools to project review and monitoring. In particular, an intersectional approach looking at the impacts on gender and community, the effects of resource extraction, and resulting impacts on social infrastructure. 

 

Gendered and Intersectional Implications of Energy and Resource Extraction in Resource-Based Communities in Canada's NorthKnowledge Synthesis Report

Gendered and Intersectional Implications of Energy and Resource Extraction in Resource-Based Communities in Canada's North

Resource development in the North is seen as an integral to Canada's economic growth, but more needs to be done to protect the environment and to ensure neighbouring communities are able to benefit from and provide input into the energy and resource extraction projects they host. While Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) negotiated between private resource companies and affected communities may be considered a means to this end, IBAs are often insufficient and ineffective at delivering protection for and equitable benefits to communities.

Therefore, this report focuses on how existing government policies and regulations could better support northern communities affected by natural resource developments. Specifically, integration of gender-based analysis (GBA) into environmental assessments (EAs) presents a valuable opportunity to uncover and address not only anticipated environmental effects, but the socioeconomic and cultural impacts such projects will have on diverse northern residents.

 

Gender-based analysis meets environmental assessment policy paperPolicy Impact Paper #1

Gender-based analysis meets environmental assessment: Aligning policy mechanisms to address the resource development in Canada’s North

Policy Impact Paper #1 discusses how gender-based analysis (GBA) can be integrated into existing environmental assessment (EA) processes in Canada to address issues of climate change, environmental degradation, and negative impacts on marginalized populations resulting from resource development and extraction projects.

 

What do gender and diversity have to do with it? policy paperPolicy Impact Paper #2

What do gender and diversity have to do with it? Responding to the community impacts of Canada's Northern resource development agenda

Northern communities bear significant impacts from resource extraction projects. Policy Impact Paper #2 offers five key principles for identifying and addressing impacts that are frequently overlooked.