Government of Canada supports commercial space launches in Canada
January 20, 2023 Longueuil, Quebec Transport Canada
Since the early 1980s, Canada's astronauts have advanced science and technology and inspired Canadians. Nine extraordinary Canadian Space Agency astronauts have flown to space 17 times. Expanding Canadian space launch capability will bring economic opportunity for the Canadian space sector, not only in urban centres but also in regions, encourage innovation and research, support national security, and create good jobs for Canadians.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, was joined by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Annie Koutrakis, Member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, the Honourable Marc Garneau, and the President of the Canadian Space Agency, Lisa Campbell, to announce the Government of Canada’s intention to support commercial space launch activities in Canada.
Representatives from the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and Space Canada, organizations who represent the Canadian aerospace industry and Canadian space innovators, also joined Minister Alghabra for this announcement to emphasize the immense benefits for the Canadian aerospace sector.
Geographically, Canada is well-positioned to support space launches. However, its regulatory framework needs to be modernized to address all aspects associated with this emerging industry.
This is why the Government announced today the measures that will be taken in the interim and in the future:
- In the interim, which is expected to last three years, the Government of Canada intends to enable commercial space launch activities in Canada that are safe, secure and environmentally sustainable, under existing legislation and regulations, on a case-by-case basis.
- During the interim period, Transport Canada will work in close collaboration with other federal departments and agencies to develop robust regulatory requirements, safety standards and licensing conditions necessary for commercial space launch in Canada.
- In addition, the Minister of Transport will establish an interdepartmental review process to leverage expertise from other departments and agencies to ensure that any launch is considered and approved in a manner consistent with domestic legislation, international treaties and conventions, and national security and foreign policy interests of Canada.
Space-based technology placed in Earth’s orbit is in high demand in most sectors including transportation, services and telecommunication. Canadian and international advocates have demonstrated interest in conducting commercial space launch activities from Canada.
“Commercial space launches are a natural evolution of space applications and exploration, and Canada is poised to bring its long history and world-leading reputation to this quickly growing field. Developing a commercial space launch regime for Canada will help make our space sector more competitive and will allow Canadian industry a greater market share of the global space economy.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
“Canada's space industry thrives on challenges and delivers world-leading technologies and innovations. By enabling commercial space launch from Canada, we are creating the conditions for a vibrant and growing space sector, including an opportunity to create thousands of more jobs, which will make us more competitive internationally and more resilient at home.”
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry
“A long-term Canadian commercial space launch regulatory framework is key to maintaining Canada’s leading role in outer space exploration and development and represents an important evolution in Canada’s space activities. Canadian space launch capability will create lasting economic opportunity for the Canadian space sector, encourage innovation and research, and support national security.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport
“Canada has a long and important history with space, of which I had the honour of being a part. Today's announcement will help position our country as a leader in commercial space launches, which will benefit our economy and create good jobs for Canadians.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount
In 2020, the Canadian aerospace industry contributed over $22B in GDP and close to 207,000 jobs to the Canadian economy.
A commercial space launch refers to the launch by a private entity of a space object (e.g., a satellite), including its launch vehicle and parts thereof.
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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