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State of the Canadian space sector

President's Message

Lisa Campbell, President of the Canadian Space Agency

Lisa Campbell,
President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
(Credit: CSA)

As the President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), I am pleased to present the  & State of the Canadian Space Sector Report: Facts and Figures  & . The report, which has been published since , contributes to our understanding of the sector by providing comprehensive data, as well as long-term trend analysis on the economic activity generated by the Canadian space sector. In order to better understand the impacts of recent global events, the CSA has combined the results from the and surveys into a single report.

The reportis based on information gathered from almost 200 organizations involved in space activities from across Canada, including small businesses, multinational space companies, not-for-profit organizations, research centres and universities.

In , the global economy experienced an unprecedented challenge related to COVID-19, which rippled into wider economic issues across the world. The impact on the Canadian space sector varied – some areas experienced declines while other areas fared much better and even saw growth.

Revenues have declined. The most pronounced impact is on revenues, which dropped to $4.9B (−11%) in , and remained at that level in . The largest segment responsible for this decline was export activity, which fell to just $1.9B in and $1.8B in . The opportunity for recovery is present in as challenges from the pandemic and issues in the supply chain begin to recede.

Research and Development (R&D) activity reached peak levels. R&D expenditures reached new highs in both and , totalling $479M in , and $547M in . The increased R&D activity is primarily led by the private sector, supporting a growing downstream market in Canada and aligning with the rapid growth of the global space sector. In addition, an analysis of return on investment (ROI) for CSA space development programs shows that for every dollar invested, 2.2 dollars are returned through follow-on revenues.

The workforce has been resilient, but is experiencing increased competition for workers. The Canadian space workforce has been resilient over the past two years, declining slightly to 10,900 (−3%) in , but recovering rapidly and showing growth in , reaching over 11,600 (+7%). Workforce multiplier impacts indicate that activities in the space sector supported more than 12,000 additional jobs in the wider Canadian economy in both and . Organizations have increasingly highlighted that competition for experts in the sector is high, leading to labour shortages.

Government funding continues to be an anchor for the sector. Government funding still plays a significant role in supporting the space sector, but this is primarily in the upstream segment where ~40% of revenues derived from government. In the downstream segment, government funding does not offset recent declines given the large percentage of revenues derived from non-government clients (~95%). That said, some survey respondents noted that government COVID-19 relief during the pandemic was essential in maintaining workforce and operations.

It is evident that the space sector continues to be an important part of the Canadian economy. Investing in space does more than just support activities in space: it has a direct impact on the socio-economic benefits for Canadians back on Earth. We have seen first-hand how Canadian space activities drive innovation, push technological and scientific boundaries, and build the workforce of tomorrow. As we look forward to exciting missions to observe our Earth and explore our solar system, I am certain that the space sector will continue to play a key role in improving the daily lives of Canadians.

I would like to convey my gratitude to all those who contributed to both the and surveys. This publication would not be possible without the generous collaboration of members of the Canadian space industry and academia.

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