Canada Announces Strategy For Satellite Earth Observation
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Canada Announces Strategy For Satellite Earth Observation

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Twenty-one Canadian organizations receive funding to make innovative use of Earth observation data

Satellites provide a unique perspective of our planet, support cutting-edge science, and enable applications and services in many areas critical to the health and well-being of Canadians. For 60 years, Canadian experts have been using satellites to monitor our environment from space.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the release of Resourceful, Resilient, Ready: Canada’s Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation, which describes how Canada will take full advantage of the unique vantage point of space to address climate change and other key challenges of our time. 

Minister Champagne and Parliamentary Secretary Dabrusin also announced an investment of $8 million in 21 organizations across Canada to advance innovative applications that focus on Earth observation challenges and sustainable development priorities. The funding will be delivered through the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA’s) smartEarth initiative, designed to challenge Canadian organizations to solve issues using satellite data and help solve tangible problems we face on Earth.

The effects of climate change in Canada are affecting our day-to-day lives with the rising number of floods, droughts and wildfires, as well as melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels. The information we need to study the climate, like methane and carbon dioxide emissions, and changes to sea ice, can be gathered by satellites more effectively than ever before. Today, data from satellites has become critical to taking action on and adapting to climate change.

“Satellites offer valuable information that can change our lives for the better here on Earth. This strategy is designed to provide useful and precise information on our planet to inform the Government’s decisions and empower Canadian businesses – big and small – to innovate and take on the real, tangible challenges we face in our day-to-day lives like climate change, forest fires and floods.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry 

“The data we gather from space about greenhouse gas emissions, weather patterns, and ice coverage in our North, is key to effective climate action. In order to be effective in tackling climate change, we must harness the power of space technology to properly identify and measure sources of emissions.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Canada continues to take the necessary steps to act against the effects of climate change. The Strategy for Satellite Earth Observation will help us get there, by providing valuable space-based information that will not only help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions but will also address other climate-related changes that affect Canada and the rest of the world.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources

“Satellite data can help advance cutting-edge science, guide emergency responses, and support industries to better understand and protect our planet, particularly to assess the impacts of climate change, helping us adapt and build resilience across the country. Access to high-quality Earth observation data is essential for the science-based decisions the Government of Canada makes every day to protect our environment and communities.”

– Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

The Canadian Space AgencyEnvironment and Climate Change Canada, and Natural Resources Canada led a whole-of-government effort to seek input from industry and academia to develop this long-term satellite Earth observation strategy. 

The global satellite Earth observation market is estimated at US$3.3 billion and expected to grow to US$7.2 billion over the next decade. The new strategy aims to help Canadian space firms capture an increased share of this global market.

The CSA funding initiative smartEarth promotes the development of innovative applications through the use of satellite data to help meet various needs on Earth, while enhancing Canada’s space sector expertise and growth.

The Government of Canada’s investment of $90 million in Budget 2021 to capitalize on satellite Earth observation, as well as the recent $20 million in funding to Canadian company GHGSat for the enhanced measurement of methane, are helping ensure we have the information needed to tackle climate change and safeguard critical services into the future. 

The unique data, provided by satellites like the Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission, supports science, public health, security, emergency response and many industries, such as agriculture and natural resource management. Data acquired by Canadian satellites and instruments (e.g. SCISATMOPITT [on Terra], OSIRIS [on Odin], RADARSAT-2 and the RADARSAT Constellation Mission) provides critical information that helps advance our understanding of the climate system.

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