Written Submission for the Government of Canada’s Pre-Budget Consultation
1. Space Canada recommends that the Government of Canada prioritize the space sector through investment, regulatory and the advancement of space related policies.
2. Space Canada strongly recommends that the Government of Canada create a National Space Council chaired by the Prime Minister to enhance space policies, investments, and initiatives, and to facilitate the level of collaboration required for Canada to be a global leader in space.
Prioritizing space will create a more innovative and competitive, equitable and inclusive, and sustainable and resilient Canadian economy that works for everyone.
Indeed, by leveraging space innovation, Canada can more effectively tackle global challenges from climate change to inequalities – all while creating the jobs of the future right here in Canada.
The new space economy is an emerging sector poised to create enormous economic opportunity. In fact, the global space sector is expected to grow to a multi-trillion-dollar-a-year industry over the next two decades. Plus, advancements in space play an important role in combatting climate change and mitigating its effects, safeguarding Canada’s security and sovereignty, and addressing the digital divide.
Maybe the most important benefit - space exploration can inspire the next generation of Canadians to reach for the stars.
Numerous countries recognize these tangible benefits stemming from the prioritization of space. That is why Canada is in a new global space race.
For all these reasons, the time for Canada to prioritize space is now.
There is a need for the highest levels of government and sector leaders to collaborate and prioritize space like never before, as other countries around the world are doing. The creation of a National Space Council will help the Government of Canada establish national space policies, drive strategic investment in the Canadian space ecosystem, and synchronize space activities across the government.
Canada is well positioned to harness the power of space for the betterment of our country, society and the planet. Canada’s space innovators are already leading the way.
We can do this. Canada can do this. We must do this because space needs more Canada.
- Brian Gallant - CEO, Space Canada
Canadian space innovators are able to assist the Government of Canada with its goals of creating new jobs while building a more innovative, more competitive, a greener, more inclusive, and more resilient Canadian economy that works for everyone.
The space sector supports over 20,000 jobs and contributes $2.5 billion yearly in GDP to Canada’s economy – and it’s poised to grow. Investments in space will propel Canada to seize job opportunities stemming from the new space economy - a rapidly expanding global sector that some forecast to reach USD $2 trillion by 2040.
Space inspires innovation.
The space sector is an innovative industrial sector that creates the jobs of the future and includes some of our most innovative businesses, researchers, and minds. Efforts to harness the power of space inspires young Canadians to pursue STEM studies and careers.
The future is at Canada’s doorstep.
The space sector contributes immensely to Canada’s competitiveness. Advancements in space technology and science will fuel the next generation of innovation and help Canada enhance its competitiveness - from smart cities to autonomous cars to robotic manufacturing to AI to the metaverse. The competitiveness of many emerging and traditional industries will depend on space innovation.
Space is delivering the data needed to protect our environment and tackle climate change.
It is only through space that half of the essential climate variables identified by the World Meteorological Organization can be observed and monitored. Space technology also monitors our land ecosystems and coastlines and protects our oceans and forests.
Through space, Canada can help address economic, environmental, and social inequalities.
Canada’s space innovators can close the digital divide – which was put on display during the COVID-19 pandemic - by providing high-speed connectivity in remote, rural, and Indigenous communities.
Through space, Canada can enhance its national security and better protect its sovereignty.
Canada can more effectively monitor the North and its borders as well as strengthen its disaster relief efforts through space-based technologies, communications, and innovations.
As launching into space becomes more accessible, there is a global race to lead the new space economy and to harness space to overcome the most pressing societal and planetary challenges.
The increasing recognition of the power of space is one of the reasons why the new space economy is growing so rapidly. Now more than ever, governments are prioritizing and utilizing the space domain for their sovereign, strategic needs in national security, economic development, and land and marine environmental stewardship.
Through investing heavily in their domestic space industries and space programs, and by adopting space related policies, numerous governments are working to harness the massive potential of space in a variety of functions, i.e. commercialization, research and innovation, telecommunications, Earth observation, environmental protection, national security, militarization, and more.
Moreover, as a force multiplier to government investments and to further capture this global opportunity, governments are increasingly creating national executive forums and whole-of-government political task forces to ensure that space is being prioritized at the highest levels of government in a strategic, results-oriented way.
The United States has long utilized a National Space Council within the Executive Office of the President, chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris. The European Union and other leading space countries like France, China, Russia, and India are also focused on space at the executive level, prioritizing the sector and investing billions of dollars every year in their domestic space capabilities
Emerging spacefaring nations like Australia and New Zealand – Canada’s Five Eyes partners – are increasing investment in their space capabilities and are on track to surpass Canada’s investments.
For a nation to compete in the race for the new space economy, government commitment towards space is necessary as governments play a pivotal role in fostering the space sectors as regulators, as capital providers (as an investor, funder, anchor-customer, or owner), or as operational partners.
Fortunately, Canada has a strong foundation in space to build on.
Due to the vision, foresight, and investments of past governments, Canada has built an impressive and proud history in space, from space-based communications to environmental monitoring to space exploration. An often-overlooked fact: Canada was the third country in space – after the Soviet Union and the United States - and a pioneer in satellite telecommunications, Earth observation, and space robotics.
To enable the level of collaboration required to secure Canada’s future as a leader in the global space sector, Space Canada recommends the creation of a National Space Council (NSC) similar to the United States. This would be an internal structure of the Government of Canada.
The NSC should be chaired by the Prime Minister and be formed with relevant cabinet ministers.
The creation of the NSC will signal to international partners and competitors alike that Canada plans on maintaining its leadership role in space.
The NSC will also improve coordination of federal policies, investments, and initiatives related to space as it will bolster cross-departmental collaboration. This level of coordination is crucial as a whole-of-government approach is required given there are numerous federal departments that will influence Canada’s level of success in the space sector and as many federal departments will benefit from the contributions space can make to advancing their respective mandates.
Although the council would be comprised of internal stakeholders in various federal departments, it would help coordinate and facilitate collaboration efforts with industry and other key external stakeholders in Canada’s space ecosystem by providing a central point of contact. To this point, the council should be supported by a space sector advisory group.
Canada’s strong legacy in space positions it to be a global leader of the new space economy. It is now time to take the next step and create a National Space Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, to ensure Canada’s investments and policies capture the importance and true breadth of the space sector’s benefits for solving our biggest challenges.
Seizing this opportunity will help create the jobs of the future and enable other important emerging sectors in Canada – such as clean tech, biotech, ag tech, and fin tech - to grow.
Further, prioritizing space will help build a more inclusive, greener, and more resilient Canada.
In essence, to accomplish the Government of Canada’s important goals as it seeks to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada needs more space.
Nevertheless, Canada is not the only country that sees the massive opportunities of space. There is a new space race.
If the Government of Canada prioritizes space and creates the National Space Council, it will be taking a giant leap in building a stronger Canadian economy as well as a better Canada and world.
About Space Canada
With over 75 leading Canadian space innovators as members from coast-to-coast - including startups, large global companies, academic institutions, and not-for-profit organizations – Space Canada advocates for the strengthening of the Canadian space ecosystem.
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