It’s been almost a year since the government unveiled its latest iteration of a Space Advisory Board and immediately its members were thrown into the lions den.
To understand what’s transpired the past year I had an in-depth discussion with Lucy Stojak, the Chair of the Space Advisory Board.
Stojak’s day job is that of Director of the School on Management of Creativity and Innovation at HEC Montréal. Little did she know that when she accepted the position of Chair that it would include boisterous consultations and some ridicule, but through it all Stojak has kept her composure.
It was April 18, 2017 that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Minister Bains announced the then 10 member Space Advisory Board. Last summer an additional member was added, Kate Howells, to represent the advocacy segment. Board members are not employees of the government, they serve on a voluntary basis and are not paid. All members work either in academia, industry, research, not-for-profit or in the case of Kate Howells, public outreach and advocacy.
The quick recap
According to the government when it announced in October 2016 that it was forming a new Space Advisory Board, the board would “advise the Government of Canada on long-term objectives for space and to engage with Canadians.”
As soon as the Board was announced last April it began a cross-Canada in-person stakeholder consultation by invitation, though if you asked to participate, as I did, you were invited. This was followed by two virtual events titled Canada’s Youth and Next Generation Space Leaders and the North and Canada’s Future in Space. All these events were wrapped up by May 19. Over 180 people participated in person or online. Afterwards the Board wrote a report titled Consultations on Canada’s Future in Space: What We Heard which summarized what they had heard from stakeholders during the consultations. While the report was written quickly according to sources who spoke to SpaceQ, it was not released until mid-August.
The report had two recommendations from issues they categorized in six themes. The two top level recommendations were to Designate space as a national strategic asset and what the Future role of the Space Advisory Board would be. The detail though was in the six themes. Those themes were;
- Designating space as a National Strategic Asset
- Strengthen world-class Canadian capabilities
- Adopting new policies and regulations to capitalize on technological advances
- Continuity of policies and sustainable funding
- Outreach and educational activities to inspire and prepare Canadians
- An urgent call to action
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