Federal Budget 2011 for the Canadian Space Sector

Today is budget day and we’ll be covering it as the day progresses. What does it mean for the Canadian space sector? Will the Canadian Space Agency budget increase or decrease? What new programs if any will be started? Does the Department of National Defence get an increase? What about research & development. Follow SpaceRef Canada on Twitter at @CanadaInSpace and on this live blog page as the day unfolds. Email us your questions at [email protected].

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Election note: The NDP, Liberals and Bloc Quebecois have all said they would not support the budget as it stands. So we could have an election either on May 2nd or May 9th according to sources.

Monday, March 21 – 6:30 p.m. EST: On the CBC’s Power Politics show @evansolomoncbc has breaking news on the budget that includes news that the Perimeter Institute will receive $50 million in Research and Development funding.

Tuesday, March 22 – 10:31 a.m. EST: The budget is expected to provide some incentives, especially for the NDP to try and avert an election. Also, according to the Liberals an HST deal is imminent for Quebec but won’t be announced until an election is called.

11:15 a.m. EST: Last years 2010-2011 Plans and Priorities report indicated that the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) budget was scheduled to decrease by 3.3% this year and another 21% next year. However the National Post of March the 1st indicated that the Canadian Space Agency would see an 8.7% budget increase. We know from recent public events by CSA president Steve MacLean that a greater emphahis is being put on space utilization including earth observation. MacLean wants to see space utilization grow from its current 36% of the budget to 51% budget. A greater emphasis is also being put on capacity building with the space science and technology portion of the budget set to increase from its current 15%.

4:15 p.m. EST: The budget is out and it contains no new funding for the Canadian Space Agency however there are other “space” sector and important science and technology items:
The government will launch: “a Review of Aerospace Policy and Programs Canada’s aerospace sector is a global technology leader and a major source of high-quality jobs. The Government will conduct–through a consultative process involving the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and their member firms–a comprehensive review of all policies and programs related to the aerospace/space industry to develop a federal policy framework to maximize the competitiveness of this export-oriented sector and the resulting benefits to Canadians. This review will be coordinated with the ongoing Review of Federal Support Research and Development.

The Government has made substantial, successful investments to leverage private sector investment in this important, high-tech and growing sector of our economy. To build on these successes, the Government will ensure that stable funding is provided for the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative through this 12-18 month consultative review, and examine options for continuing the level of funding thereafter.

As well Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) will all get modest additional funding.

  • $15 million per year to NSERC to support outstanding research in the natural sciences and engineering fields, such as the Strategy for Partnerships and Innovation.
  • $15 million per year to CIHR to support advanced health-related research, such as the Strategy on Patient-Oriented Research.
  • $7 million per year to SSHRC to support world-leading research in the social sciences and humanities, such as partnership activities in priority areas including the digital economy.

4:30 p.m. EST: The government will expand the Canada Excellence Research Chairs by investing another $53.5 million over 5 years to support the creation of 10 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs. As well the government will spend $12 million over 5 years for a Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence.

4:40 p.m. EST: As we reported earlier the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics will receive $50 million over five years beginning in 2012-1013 to support its research, education and public outreach activities. As well Federal funding for this initiative will be matched by resources raised from the Institute’s other partners.

4:45 p.m. EST: The budget provides $3 million in 2011-12 and $5 million per year on a permanent basis starting in 2012-13 to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support 30 new Industrial Research Chairs at colleges.

The budget allocates a further $12 million over five years, starting in 2011-12, to NSERC’s Idea to Innovation program to support joint college-university research and development projects with promising commercialization potential.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ 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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