smartHarbour initiative: satellite data to help monitor and protect our ecosystems

News release

June 29, 2023 – Longueuil, Quebec

Earth observation data collected by satellites is used to monitor our planet's various ecosystems. As part of the smartHarbour initiative, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is collaborating with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and the Montreal Port Authority (MPA) to develop innovative applications using satellite data as part of the Port of Montreal expansion in Contrecœur. These applications would allow for tracking of different environmental variables that are important for conserving the biodiversity of natural habitats, both while the new MPA terminal is being built and afterwards.

On behalf of the CSA, PSPC has awarded four research and development contracts, totalling $4 million, to the following Canadian companies: WSP Canada Inc., Hatfield Consultants LLP, Arctus Inc. and AECOM Consultants Inc.

smartHarbour will foster the development and adoption of best practices for environmental monitoring as well as the protection of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Earth observation data will serve to enhance and complement traditional methods of environmental monitoring and follow-up that are used in the field.


"Our government is proud to see that Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation continues to bear fruit, making the satellite Earth observation sector a booming field of innovation in Canada. The work of these Canadian companies developing innovative solutions based on satellite data will help us better equip ourselves to protect our biodiversity, especially by monitoring the environmental aspects of the expansion of the Port of Montreal."

- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"For many years, the Montreal Port Authority has put innovation first to address logistical issues, protect the environment and be more effective in all our operations. I am excited that our major expansion project will use modern technologies to contribute to top-notch environmental follow-up, and will showcase the use of Earth observation technologies in the Canadian maritime community."

Martin Imbleau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Montreal Port Authority

"Awarding these research and development contracts will leverage the expertise of Canadian providers in coming up with innovative technological solutions and will enable us to support our partners in developing applications using satellite data and in protecting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems."

- The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Quick facts

  • In January 2022, Canada published Resourceful, Resilient, Ready: Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation, which describes how Canada will take full advantage of the unique vantage point of space to address climate change and other key challenges of our time.

  • The smartHarbour initiative supports this strategy and is part of the CSA's smartEarth funding initiative, which seeks to support Canadian organizations in the development of applications using satellite data to resolve problems on Earth.

  • The solutions developed as part of smartHarbour will provide additional information to the aquatic and terrestrial environmental variables monitoring program put in place by the Montreal Port Authority.

  • smartHarbour encourages partnerships between the private sector, universities, non-government organizations and government organizations.

  • In March 2021, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a decision statement allowing the MPA to proceed with its expansion project in Contrecœur provided that it meets a series of conditions, including implementing an environmental follow-up program that uses Earth observation technologies like smartHarbour.

  • The initiative is aligned with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in 2022, in Montreal. In this historic framework, Canada is committed to addressing the key drivers of biodiversity loss, like pollution and overexploitation.

Associated links


Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
Telephone: 450-926-4370
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Public Services and Procurement Canada
Regional Media Relations Office
Telephone: 514-923-6937

Montreal Port Authority
Renée Larouche
Director of Communications

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