Independent Review of the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act
26 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2019
Date Written: February 17, 2017
The Remote Sensing Space Systems Act and its Regulations came into force on 5 April 2007. Pursuant to s 45.1 of the Act, Global Affairs Canada tasked us with conducting an independent review of the Act “in order to assess, in particular, [the Act’s] impact on technological development and on the implementation of international agreements and treaties”. This independent review constitutes the second five-year phase of the Act’s existence (from 2012-2017) and considers the provisions, operation and implementation of the Act. The significant findings of the review are as follows: (1) Although the objective of the Act is to balance the public interests of Canada with the private interests of commercial remote sensing operators, the Act leans more in favour of protecting Canadian national security interests at the expense of technological development and commercial interests; and (2) The Act does a commendable job of upholding Canada’s international obligations and allowing Canada to respond to changing international situations. Since the time of its enactment in 2005, the players, activities, technology and internationalization of remote sensing activities have since changed significantly and outgrown the confines of the Act. What is needed is a reinvigorated licensing office, tasked with efficiently dealing with remote sensing space systems, as well as a general Outer Space Act to regulate space activities that are not, strictly speaking, remote sensing but currently regulated as such.
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