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Evaluation Summary of the European Space Agency Contribution Program of the Canadian Space Agency

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PDF version (1,14 MB) of the Evaluation of the European Space Agency Contribution Program of the Canadian Space Agency

Program Description

The CSA's European Space Agency Contribution Program (ESA-CP) has been in effect since . As ESA's only non-European cooperating state, this program facilitates access for the Canadian space sector to ESA's projects with the aim of supporting the innovation and competitiveness of the Canadian space sector.

Key Findings


  • Canada's space industry is reliant on exports and the ESA-CP facilitates access to unique opportunities in the European market.
  • The program allows Canada's space sector to advance technologies, develop partnerships and garner follow-on business.
  • The relevance of the ESA-CP is impacted as an increasing portion of our funding is going to mandatory activities of less interest with less being available for Optional programs.


  • The ESA-CP is efficiently managed with significant improvements; these include a dedicated country desk officer for Canada at ESA and deploying an online survey to gain industry input.
  • Efficiency is sometimes hampered by Canada's distance from Europe and due to challenges in getting detailed contract information from ESA.
  • Findings indicate a need for earlier engagement with the space sector before Ministerials and for program awareness to be improved.


  • Canada has consistently achieved an equitable georeturn for its space sector from investments in ESA.
  • A diverse range of organizations from across Canada's space sector participated in ESA projects, totaling approximately 30% of Canada's space organizations
  • A relative minority of players do continue to be the most active participants, with the top 80% of monies going to 8 companies.

Evaluation Overview 

  • The evaluation examined fiscal years - to -.
  • Key Informant Interviews were conducted from across the Canadian government, ESA, Canada's space industry and academia.
  • Quantitative performance and financial data alongside extensive document review were also used.

Value of contracts awarded to Canadian organizations by domain FY- to FY-

  • Earth Observation €21M
  • Telecommunications €15M
  • Space Exploration €11M
  • Mandatory Activities €7M
  • Other Programs and Activities €6M


  1. The CSA should review the strategic orientations of the ESA-CP
  2. The CSA, in collaboration with ESA, should expand its activities aiming to promote and raise awareness of the opportunities offered through the ESA-CP to current and potential members of the Canadian space sector
  3. The CSA should engage the Canadian space sector more actively, through direct consultations and discussions for the planning and the coordination of Canada's participation in ESA's Ministerial Council Meetings, to maximize collaboration opportunities with European partners
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