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Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation

About this strategy: a bold leap into the future

As a country spanning almost 10 million square kilometres, Canada has always faced a unique challenge in collecting the day-to-day information needed to enable our economy and provide critical services to Canadians. Now, more than ever, Canada's vast and changing landscape, including its cities, forests, coasts, and climate, require systematic monitoring and analysis. Weather forecasting, transportation planning, emissions reduction, climate change adaptation, emergency disaster response, public health monitoring, freshwater management, ocean protection, and food production all increasingly rely on rapid and detailed observations of our country.

Thanks to over four decades of science, innovation, and technology development in Canada, many requirements for rapid and detailed information are now met most effectively by satellites orbiting Earth through a practice known as satellite Earth observation (henceforth referred to as "satellite EO"). Investments in satellites, and the systems on the ground that transform their data into new insights, provide innumerable opportunities, economic efficiencies, and societal benefits.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change intensify, satellite data has become a critical asset to ensure Canada's continuing social and economic well-being. Canada has long been a leader in satellite EO, with Government of Canada (GC) innovations in satellite radar and analysis techniques setting the groundwork for broader societal applications and economic activity. However, as the world rapidly changes around us, the time to advance Canada's satellite EO capabilities has come.

Today, revolutionary new applications, from measuring Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in increasing detail to identifying populations vulnerable to diseases and disaster, are emerging across government, industry, and academia. Over the next 15 years, this strategy will guide efforts to generate the skills and economic opportunities needed to take advantage of these abilities. The strategy will also inform the GC's investment in new technologies, such as machine learning, big data analytics, and advanced satellite systems. Ultimately, our objective is to strengthen Canada's digital and traditional economies, enhance government services, and support the scientific community.

Exploration, Imagination, Innovation - A New Space Strategy for Canada

Canada's Space Strategy, released in , recognizes satellite EO as a vital part of its objectives to grow the space sector, solve everyday challenges for Canadians, inspire the next generation, and secure Canada's place on the global stage. As Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation, this document builds on those commitments by elaborating on specific areas to meet the Space Strategy's objectives. Taking an approach that emphasizes domestic and international collaboration, this strategy also supports other GC commitments. This includes enabling action on climate change as outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change; creating the jobs of tomorrow as outlined in Canada's Innovation and Skills Plan; ensuring national data sovereignty and fostering a digital data-driven economy upholding Canada's Digital Operations Strategic Plan; and complementing solutions for defence and security challenges as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's Defence Policy.

Informed by the challenges and opportunities of today and inspired by the possibilities of tomorrow, Resourceful, Resilient, Ready outlines the GC's new vision for satellite EO. Over the next decade and beyond, this document will guide our actions to realize the full benefits of space technology for a safer and more prosperous Canada. With this strategy, the GC is committing to the investments we need today to build the Canada we dream of tomorrow.

What we heard

This strategy is the result of a two-year effort by the GC that saw ongoing engagement with the wider satellite EO community. As a part of its vision, the GC is committed to continuing collaboration with private and academic experts, provincial/territorial governments, international partners, and Indigenous communities.

Resourceful, Resilient, Ready responds to the views expressed through engagement with Canadian satellite EO stakeholders, and is designed to:

  • Enable innovation by increasing the ease of access to open satellite EO data from Canadian and international government satellites;
  • Facilitate collaboration between satellite EO stakeholders across the sector, from satellite and antenna manufacturers, to data handlers and product developers;
  • Strengthen international cooperation with key partners and expand opportunities for Canadian companies and researchers;
  • Create opportunities for the development of innovative business solutions to address priorities of the GC and Canadians; and
  • Instill confidence and stability in industry and academia by outlining long-term priorities for the Government, allowing industry to shape their business plans and academia to foster necessary skills.

Printable version (PDF, 1.91 MB)

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