Easing export controls, and giving priority to Canadian projects with export potential, will put space companies here in a better position financially to compete internationally, the companies said in submissions to a federal aerospace review board.
Satellite communications provider Telesat called on the federal government to provide funding certainty for the Polar Communications and Weather Satellite, which is intended to provide more accurate communications and weather predictions in Canada’s north. Money could be raised by selling services to other countries for its data, Telesat suggested.
“PCW … is a strong candidate for the government of Canada to promote use of Canadian commercial space services in international cooperative arrangements, just as the U.S. government has done,” Telesat stated.
“This not only would reduce the cost of the initiative for the government of Canada, it would support export of state-of-the-art Canadian services and foster the development of Canadian industry.”
For its part, Com Dev asked for easing export controls, particularly in the fast-growing areas of India and China. Com Dev is a components manufacturer for satellites.
For the Cambridge, Ont.-based company, the challenge is that often its technology can be used in military satellites as well as civilian ones. This produces policy problems when a non-allied nation seeks to purchase the technology, even if it is as simple as a switch.
“Canadian competitiveness could be improved significantly by introducing a more enlightened and intelligent screening process, at the front end of the approval cycle, as our European competitors have done," Com Dev stated.
The federal government has tasked former cabinet minister David Emerson to lead an external review of Canada’s aerospace sector with an eye for determining priorities in the coming years. Mr. Emerson’s report is expected in December.
With the Canadian Space Agency, the Department of National Defence and other spacefaring departments facing budget cuts, the review will in part determine how to allocate the money that remains.
In recent months, Com Dev and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates both announced cutbacks and layoffs in relation to a major northern satellite project called Radarsat Constellation due to a lack of funding certainty from the CSA.