CSCA calls on federal parties to commit to long-term space plan
With Canada’s 42nd federal election being called, the Canadian Space Commerce Association is calling on all parties to commit to developing an open and public long-term space plan to be published by the end of 2016. Currently, Canada is guided by the Space Policy Framework that was released in February 2014. The new framework provides little detail and five general principles. It replaces the 2003 Canadian Space Strategy which provided substantially more guidance for stakeholders and was publicly disseminated.
August 12, 2015 By Canadian Space Commerce Association
What the public may not be aware of, is that in 2009, a long-term space plan was developed by the Canadian Space Agency with input from stakeholders. A draft of this plan was presented to the Government however it was never released publicly and only limited portions of the plan were implemented.
At a time when being competitive on a global basis is crucial, Canada is projecting a position that suggests that the space sector is not a priority. And while the government has made it a principle to position the private sector at the forefront of space activities, it is also reducing funding to Canada’s space program.
In areas where Canada has established a reputation for product excellence, Canada continues to see growth. But what of less established segments? Or emerging technology areas? While there has been a very modest increase in government sponsored research and development (R&D) funding for the space sector, it is still at low levels compared to other global technology leaders. According to the OECD, Canada’s investment in R&D overall has declined and now stands at 1.69% of GDP whereas the global average is 2.4%. Canada is becoming less competitive. This is not a trend that can continue.
To put the space sector in perspective financially, in 2013 the CSCA estimates that the Canadian space sector generated over $4.2 billion in revenue which equaled about 1.3% of the global market of $314.2 billion.
Canadians rely on space data and technology on a daily basis. A vibrant Canadian space sector economy is essential to the Canadian economy. It is time to develop a public long-term space plan that will signal Canada’s intent to the global community and which should, when implemented, lead to new jobs and increased revenue and benefits for all Canadians.