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Canada's Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation

Delivering the vision: Our objectives

4 Inspire skills and capacity development for the next generation

Realizing the full benefits of satellite EO requires staying ahead of technological developments and demands a highly qualified workforce Ready to take the helm of our satellite EO enterprise. To foster a diverse and equitable satellite EO workforce in Canada, the Government will:

  1. Promote satellite EO Education
    Leveraging the investments of today requires encouraging and training youth to be the next generation of experts. Ongoing and future STEM and BHASE initiatives will work to strengthen skills development and satellite EO literacy by focusing on improved awareness and understanding of the technology's potential, inclusive training and education opportunities, and support for entrepreneurship. These targeted investments will provide ample opportunities for Canadians to upskill or begin their education in emerging high-tech areas related to satellite EO. Now and in the coming decades, it is also essential to ensure programming which is specifically targeted towards building capacity among high-priority user groups such as Indigenous communities, women and gender minorities, low-income Canadians, and other traditionally marginalized peoples. The future of satellite EO in Canada must be diverse and inclusive, allowing Canadians of all backgrounds to contribute.
  2. Partner with Indigenous and northern communities to deliver locally driven solutions
    Empowering Indigenous and northern communities to create and use applications that support decision making on local issues is of vital importance to the GC. In support of its reconciliation commitments, the Government is committed to open and transparent partnerships with Indigenous communities, where invited, to co-develop solutions integrated with traditional knowledge that address community-identified needs. The GC will also continue in existing partnerships to advance innovation in Canada's North, enhance access to STEM careers, and bolster local economies by bringing the benefits of satellite EO technologies directly to northern communities.

Satellite EO in action:
Supporting Indigenous Cultural Preservation

Indigenous archaeological sites located in Arctic permafrost are at risk of disturbance and loss as the climate warms and permafrost thaws. Sites along coastlines and river banks are particularly vulnerable. Understanding terrain stability through satellite EO is helping prioritize sites at risk, known only to the Indigenous elders, for salvage. The availability of open high-resolution digital elevation data for the Arctic enables detailed analysis, called "interferometry," using synthetic aperture radar. This process identifies where the ground is sinking due to permafrost thaw, ice wedge melt, slope creep and erosion, and presents results in user-friendly "terrain-at-risk" maps that show centimetre-level changes. Documenting and saving archaeological sites is important for conserving Indigenous cultural heritage, and provides evidence of land occupation that supports land claim and treaty negotiations.

Archaeological team uncovering a tent ring built by the Thule, ancestors of modern-day Inuit peoples. (Credit: Brendan Griebel/Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq)

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