Introduction to GBA Plus

GBA Plus pilot initiative

This element involves identifying an existing or upcoming initiative to use as a “pilot” for GBA Plus. This will make the process concrete, and can help to inform the use of GBA Plus throughout your organization.

In the pilot project, the GBA Plus process is applied throughout the development and implementation of a specific initiative. This includes incorporating GBA Plus questions into research, analysis and the development of options, as well as into the delivery and evaluation of the initiative.

While GBA Plus can be used in the development of human resources policy, the GBA Plus pilot initiative should focus instead on a policy, program or legislative initiative that will affect the broader organization or sector, or the Canadian public. It is also suggested that the initiative be tied to a key priority or objective, in order to enhance visibility and relevance.

Doing a self-assessment of the GBA Plus pilot once it is complete, which will document the initiative’s development, implementation, and GBA Plus results, will provide a useful resource that is specific to your operating environment.

The lessons learned in the pilot process will also help you to identify additional training or tools that might be needed. 

GBA Plus framework - Pilot Initiative

Case Study: GBA Plus framework in a public security organization

Case Study: GBA Plus framework in a public security organization

5 - GBA Plus pilot project

The GBA Plus working group, with the support of senior management, has identified an upcoming initiative being undertaken by the Material Management section as a GBA Plus pilot initiative.

As manager of Material Management, you have been asked to apply the GBA Plus process to a review of officers’ equipment needs, specifically looking at pistols and belts. 

The Rockford Police Department has a standard issue pistol and duty belt for all officers. The duty belt is used to carry a variety of equipment. Over time, the department has added a number of items that an officer is required to carry on the belt, having most recently added pepper spray and a large flashlight. 

The original purpose of this initiative was to review existing equipment in terms of safety and cost-effectiveness. However, the review will now also take gender and diversity considerations into account as options are developed, and include this information in its supporting rationale when options are presented to the Chief of Police.

The first step is to check assumptions about equipment. As manager, you may assume that every officer is provided the same equipment based on general industry standards, and that it is equally useful to all.

To test this assumption, you begin by gathering evidence about the specific impacts of this equipment on diverse members. This includes a consideration of the diversity among police officers, and undertaking consultations, including targeted surveys and interviews, to get more detailed information about the nature of challenges and concerns being experienced by diverse groups.  

Some basic GBA Plus considerations which emerge include:

  • Greater diversity in physical stature among police officers
  • Differences in men’s and women’s bodies

Through research and interviews, you learn that some officers with smaller hands have difficulty handling the pistol grip. Officers who are left-handed report difficulties ejecting the magazine. Both issues raise safety risks.

In considering the belt, you become aware that the stiff material of the belt and standardized sizing does not fit all officers, and many have trouble fitting all the necessary equipment onto their belts, creating both safety and health issues (including pinched nerves, back pain, and bruises). The suspenders that attach to the belt are reported as problematic for female officers, who have to remove their vest every time they use the washroom.

Making recommendations

Your proposal to the Chief highlights the impacts that the current equipment may be having on the safety and well-being of diverse groups.

Including gender and diversity considerations has guided you to offer different options in your proposal than you might otherwise have considered. Your research determines that there is a pistol on the market from the same manufacturer featuring a grip that can be customized to an individual’s hand size and a magazine catch that can be changed for left or right-handed operators.

You have also recommended lighter belts, designed to fit officers of different sizes, as well as suspenders that release from the belt without having to remove the vest.

Communicating the outcomes

Some officers may initially object to equipment changes. In communicating changes to equipment, GBA Plus considerations will help to explain decisions and to build buy-in.

Monitoring results

In concluding your GBA Plus, it will be important to identify a process to monitor the implementation of new equipment to ensure it continues to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse officer complement.