Federal Government to Create National Space Council

Canadian Space Agency fiscal year 2024-25 budget. Image credit: SpaceQ/Shutterstock.

Heeding the repeated calls from industry group Space Canada, the federal government has announced that it will create a National Space Council. This and other space related items were in the 2024 budget released yesterday by the Liberal government.

In its budget document, the government states that “Budget 2024 announces the establishment of a new whole-of-government approach to space exploration, technology development, and research. The new National Space Council will enable the level of collaboration required to secure Canada’s future as a leader in the global space race, addressing cross-cutting issues that span commercial, civil, and defence domains. This will also enable the government to leverage Canada’s space industrial base with its world-class capabilities, workforce, and track record of innovation and delivery.”

It’s been five years since the Space Advisory Board was essentially disbanded and two years since the creation of Space Canada.

Space Canada, led by Brian Gallant as CEO, the former Premier of New Brunswick, and backed by the countries largest space companies, began a Space Day on the Hill with the Spacebound conference shortly after its formation.

In statement on the new National Space Council, Brian Gallant said, “Prioritizing space will create a more innovative and competitive Canadian economy that works for everyone. The new space economy is an emerging sector poised to create enormous economic opportunity. Plus, advancements in space play an important role in protecting our oceans and forests, combatting climate change and mitigating its effects, safeguarding Canada’s security and sovereignty, and addressing the digital divide.”

Gallant added, “The creation of a National Space Council will enable the federal government to better coordinate efforts to strengthen the Canadian space ecosystem, and it will send a signal internationally that Canada is ready to step up on the world stage. Space Canada emphatically applauds the federal government’s commitment to create a National Space Council.”

Space Canada represents over 80 members.

LEAP and Military Space Funding

The only other civil space news from the budget was the proposal to add $8.6 million to the Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). program this year..

Following up on last weeks defence policy update, the government outlined the following defence initiatives related to space.

  • $6.9 billion to modernize Canada’s surveillance systems, including new Arctic and Polar Over the Horizon Radar systems and enhanced space-based surveillance systems to expand situational awareness of Canadian territory and air and maritime approaches. The first of these systems is expected to be online in 2028.
  • $4.1 billion for new command and control capabilities, including a modernized aerospace operations centre and enhanced Polar communications satellites.

However, it should be noted that only $549.4 million, allocated over four years, starting in next years budget will be spent on the above initiatives along with the following, “new tactical helicopters, long-range missile capabilities for the Army, and airborne early warning aircraft, and for other investments to defend Canada’s sovereignty.”

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and Executive Vice President, Content of SpaceNews. Boucher has 25+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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