Canada is well positioned to support space launches but its regulatory framework needs to be modernized.
Canada’s $22 billion aerospace industry may be getting a boost over the coming years with the federal government’s announcement that it intends to support commercial space launch activities.
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. (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.) Geographically, Canada is well-positioned to support space launches. However, Ottawa says the nation’s regulatory framework needs to be modernized to address all aspects associated with this emerging industry.
“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,” said Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport.
The government announced 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 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 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.
Canada’s aerospace industry currently accounts for close to 207,000 jobs.