The Canadian Space Community Has an Opportunity to Influence the 2017 Federal Budget

With a new government in place that appears to be open to a new dialogue with the space community, there is an opportunity to influence Budget 2017. On June 3rd, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance launched its pre-budget consultation process. This consultation process is a direct opportunity for interested groups and individuals across the country to potentially influence the budget process.

For the space community, it’s an opportunity to work together to make the business case that increasing Canada’s investment in the space sector is good business that will benefit Canadians.

The trick is to get the disparate space communities to work together and synchronize their messages. This should include the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) and other groups and prominent individuals.

As an example, for Budget 2016, the AIAC and CSCA were the only two organizations that submitted briefs¹ to the Finance committee. Even though they didn’t cooperate on their messages, curiously enough they both requested an increase in technology development, and in particular for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Space Technologies Development Program. The AIAC requested an increase of $70 million over 3 years while the CSCA requested $100 million over 4 years.

The new government has a better understanding of what space means to Canada. If the various organizations take the time to coordinate on a couple of recommendations and makes an effort to appear in person before the Committee, they have a greater chance of making their case and moving Canada’s space program forward.
While the government has signalled it will move forward with a new Long Term Space Plan, the pre-budget consultation is one step towards making some of the items in the plan move forward sooner.

Details from the Committee’s press release on the process and themes are below. Note that this year, those interested in testifying in person can request so through the committee’s website.

From the press release:
The focus of written submissions to the Committee and appearances in fall 2016 should be the following:

  1. What federal measures would help Canadians generally – and such specific groups as the unemployed, Indigenous peoples, those with a disability and seniors – maximize, in the manner of their choosing, their contributions to the country’s economic growth?
    • For example, what measures in relation to education and training, labour mobility, workplace accommodation, labour market information and personal taxes would be most helpful in supporting the country’s economic growth?
  2. What federal actions would assist Canada’s businesses – in all regions and sectors – meet their expansion, innovation and prosperity goals, and thereby contribute to economic growth in the country?
    • For example, what actions in relation to support for entrepreneurs, internal and international trade and investment, regional development agencies, taxation and business financing would help businesses maximize their contribution to Canada’s economic growth?
  3. What federal measures would ensure that urban, rural and remote communities throughout Canada enable residents to make their desired contribution to the country’s economic growth and businesses to expand, prosper and serve domestic and international customers in order to contribute to growth?
    • For example, what measures in relation to broadband and other types of infrastructure, arts, recreation, tourism and climate change adaptation would help communities to support residents and businesses as they seek to take advantage of opportunities and contribute to the nation’s economic growth?

The deadline for written submissions to the Committee is no later than Friday, 5 August 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Submissions should be no longer than 2,000 words, including an executive summary. Submissions exceeding this limit will not be considered by the Committee. Following translation, the submissions will be circulated to Committee members and posted on the Committee’s website.

Written submissions can be sent to:

More information about this year’s pre-budget consultations is available on the study’s webpage.

Disclaimer: Marc Boucher, the author of this story is an advisor to the CSCA, its former CEO and wrote the CSCA’s Budget 2016 Brief.

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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