Volume 2: Reaching Higher: Canada's Interests and Future in Space – November 2012

Part 3
Analysis and recommendations (continued)

Chapter 3.4
Next steps for the Canadian Space Agency

The CSA was created in 1989, pursuant to a recommendation made by the 1967 Chapman Report, which laid the groundwork for Canada's space program. The CSA's responsibilities, as laid out in the Canadian Space Agency Act, are very broadly defined.

Another 23 years have passed, and this report makes recommendations that will mean significant change for the CSA. Reflecting the experience of the last two and a half decades, the maturation of the Canadian space sector, and the evolution of the global space business, these recommendations will bring greater clarity to the CSA's core mandate.

If these recommendations are fully implemented, the CSA will focus on:

  • Providing advice and support to the Minister of Industry, the Canadian Space Advisory Council, and the deputy minister-level Space Program Management Board, for which the President of the CSA will act as Vice-Chair.
  • Acting as a technical advisor to project-specific committees and to Public Works and Government Services Canada in the context of major space procurements, as well as to government departments and agencies more generally on the uses of space assets and data.
  • Negotiating cooperation agreements with other countries' space agencies and coordinating Canada's participation in international space projects.
  • Co-managing, with the NRC, the allocation of increased funding in support of space technology development, as well as conducting its own research in collaboration with industry and academia.
  • Continuing to operate public space assets and associated ground infrastructure in its inventory.
  • Running the Canadian astronaut program.

In addition, consistent with recommendation 15 in the companion volume, Beyond the Horizon: Canada's Interests and Future in Aerospace, the CSA will help to promote space-related studies and careers among Canada's youth.

Better delineated roles for the CSA mean that it will not, itself, be a policy-making body, nor, as a rule, will it be directly involved in designing and manufacturing space assets purchased by the government.

A clear mission helps ensure the success of any organization. The CSA will benefit from having a well-defined mandate, as well as the right number of staff, with the right mix of competencies, to deliver that mandate.