Press Release

Previous commitments tie Canadian Space Agency’s hands

By SpaceRef Editor
December 3, 2002
Filed under ,

Chapter 7: Canadian Space Agency — Implementing the
Canadian Space Program

Ottawa, 3 December 2002 — Despite stable funding, the
Canadian Space Agency is unable to carry out its required
activities under the Canadian Space Program because of
funding obligations that predate its creation, and the
situation is likely to worsen in the next five years, says
the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, in her Report
tabled today in the House of Commons.

“The hands of the Canadian Space Agency are tied,” says
Ms. Fraser. “It is unable to meet its existing commitments
under the government-approved Canadian Space Program, and
new initiatives must compete with existing programs for

Perhaps best known for the Canadarm2 and the astronaut
program, the Agency is highly visible both nationally and
internationally. It co-ordinates civil space-related
research, science, and technology; industrial development;
and international co-operation for the federal government.
The Agency’s core business is managing projects involving
industry, universities, and specialized research institutes;
these contracts represent about 75 percent of the Agency’s

The Agency received $300 million in annual funding beginning
in 2002-03. However, it has experienced significant cost
increases in projects with international partners. In the
next five years, Canada’s share of the costs of operating
the International Space Station will consume about a third
of the Agency’s annual budget, making fewer resources
available for projects under the Canadian Space Program.

The Report recommends that the Agency develop a new strategic
plan that would clearly outline objectives and funding
requirements for ongoing projects and new ones it considers
essential. The Auditor General notes that the Agency is in
the process of significantly increasing its permanent
workforce, a move she considers premature.

“It’s up to the Canadian Space Agency to make the case for
its projects and up to Parliament to decide how much Canada
should invest in space research,” says the Auditor General.
“Only then should the Agency increase its permanent

The chapter “Canadian Space Agency—Implementing the Canadian
Space Program” is available on the Office of the Auditor
General of Canada Web site,

[Or available as a PDF file (656KB) at$file/20021207ce.pdf]

SpaceRef staff editor.