Canadian Regulatory Watch

The CSS Regulatory Subcommittee aims to gather information, make it available, and provide feedback to the government on legislation that impacts Canadian space development, particularly the regulatory environment for the commercial space industry. This subcommittee is headed by Heather Davis.

There are a number of bills currently under consideration by parliament. Of particular import is: Bill C-25.

Bill C-25 - Bill controlling earth imagery

Overview

The details of Bill C-25 can be found on the Library of Parliament web site. It includes links to the speeches made in Parliament on second reading of the bill, which we found to be very useful in elucidating the government's rationale for proposing the bill.

This bill arises mainly from the imminent launch of Radarsat-2. Radarsat-2 will have very high resolution, and it was promised to the USA in 1990 that Canada would regulate such things in a way similar to the way the US does. Unfortunately this means that the bill is worded in a way that goes far beyond accomplishing the desired goals, though this is most likely unintentional. The speeches in parliament make it clear that many parliamentarians lack a good grasp of satellite technology and related issues, and no consideration was given to, for example, the university nanosats being built at U of T with low-resolution cameras. It is the opinion of the CSS regulatory subcommittee that such low-resolution sensors and carrier spacecraft should be given an automatic exemption to this regulation.

Progression

This bill was considered by committee (the Foreign Affairs committee) in February, and members of the CSS made an effort to contact the committee to comment on the bill. The clerk of the committee was Stephen Knowles and he was quite responsive to inquiries.

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