Our team is committed to reflecting and responding to the unique needs of local communities, prioritizing those that face multiple barriers or are underserved, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, Black people, newcomers and refugees, those living with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQIA+ peoples. Our team recognizes the importance of research ethics and culturally safe approaches to working with diverse communities and peoples.
Before we implemented our most recent EDI policy, in 2014 three critical policies were developed that demonstrate our commitment to anti-racism and diversity in the workplace. These policies included: GGI’s positive workplace policy, GGI’s workplace violence prevention policy and GGI’s accessible customer service policy. Moreover, our internal prioritization of EDI builds on early adoption of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) as a mechanism to improve EDI outcomes. Our company hired an expert to provide GBA+ training, specifically the integration of GBA+ in evaluation, in July 2019. All team employees have to participate in mandatory GBA+ and EDI training and are encouraged to pursue additional (GBA+) and cross-cultural competency certifications.
We bring cultural awareness and cross-cultural competencies into every step of its work. As such, our team brings extensive experience in applying best practices in research and evaluation with, by and for equity deserving communities such as applying a Participatory Action Research approach, an Intersectional Research Framework, Gender-Based Analysis Plus and taking a capacity-building approach to data collection.
Participatory Action Research (PAR)
Our team is experienced in utilizing collaborative and participatory approaches such as Participatory Action Research (PAR) which enable non-hierarchical exchanges of knowledge, empower participants of the research process and provide authenticity to the research outcome.
Through the use of a flexible, inclusive, and strengths-based approach, PAR enables all key stakeholders to contribute to the process and ensure all relevant perspectives are aired and considered. This approach has proven extremely successful in our previous assignments involving diverse communities such as Indigenous, racialized, newcomer and immigrant communities.
Intersectional Research Framework
Intersectionality is the complex way the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap or intersect and may be amplified when joined together. Thus, putting effort into ensuring that overlapping identities are considered in program planning and delivery matters because different social norms and stereotypes of exclusion can be associated with different identities. Using a GBA+ lens can help bring to light whether different root causes, needs, consequences, probabilities, access, or vulnerabilities may be at play depending on the identity or intersecting identities of participants.
Gender-Based Analysis Plus
Our team is committed to advancing gender equality, taking into consideration policies and action plans, as well as promising practices in the field. GBA+ is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups may experience policies, programs and initiatives differently based upon identity factors. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that intersecting identity factors such as for example, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, physical ability, and mental ability equally define one’s identity.
According to an intersectionality perspective, inequities are never the result of single, distinct factors but rather the outcome of intersections of different social locations, power relations and experiences. Relationships and power dynamics between social locations are linked and can shift and mix to different effect depending on geographic setting, context or situation.
GBA+ questions basic assumptions and dominant societal values, and seeks to develop an understanding of inter-relationships among economic and social factors and how these relate back to identity factors. GBA+ can be integrated into research through: the types of questions asked; ensuring that GBA+ considerations are taken into account in the data collection approach and methods used; and, ensuring that matters related to GBA+ are reported back. This can include, for example: how GBA+ was integrated into the study approach and methodology; how gender and intersectionality considerations were applied; how various different stakeholder groups participated; any constraints or limitations encountered with respect to GBA+ (such as gender or other relevant identity-disaggregated data not having sufficiently been available); the impact of these constraints and limitations on the study; and, what was learned related to gender and intersecting identity groups in relation to the program under investigation.
Capacity-building Approach to Data Collection
Our team works from the position of capacity building. We approach research from a strengths-based perspective – i.e., if deficits or weaknesses in project design or delivery are identified, we determine the actions needed to address these to move the project to a position of strength.
We recognize that a solid understanding and acknowledgment of cultural protocols is vital to establishing meaningful and lasting working relationships with diverse communities and groups—relationships based on mutual respect and trust as a matter of practice. For example, our team is committed to following OCAP principles that reflect Indigenous commitments to ownership over information about the community. This includes the use and sharing of information in a way that brings benefit to the community while minimizing harm. The OCAP Principles include:
- Ownership: refers to the relationship of an Indigenous community to its cultural knowledge/ data/ information.
- Control: asserts that Indigenous people, their communities and representative bodies must control how information about them is collected, used and disclosed. The element of control extends to all aspects of information management, from collection of data to the use, disclosure and ultimate destruction of data.
- Access: refers to the right of Indigenous communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding who can access their collective information.
- Possession: puts data within Indigenous jurisdiction and control.