Satellite communications

Satellite communications

Satellites help connect Canadians from coast to coast to coast, providing services like broadband Internet, e-commerce, television and radio, and telemedicine. Canada has a long history of global leadership in leading-edge satellite communications technologies. Canada is investing in new satellite communications technologies with the potential to improve connectivity for homes and businesses across Canada and around the world.

Satellite communications in Canada

Canada’s leadership in satellite technology was born of its large and varied geography. Satellites are an efficient means of connecting homes and business across a large landmass. Today, Canada is a global leader in the research, development, and manufacturing of satellite subsystems and components, and the operation of communications satellites. Canada is home to leading satellite technology companies and operators, providing hardware and services to global customers.

In the future, advanced technologies such as low Earth orbit–or “LEO”–satellites will play an important role in addressing connectivity needs in the hardest to reach rural and remote areas. Advanced satellite services are essential to helping connect even the most remote areas of Canada to the digital economy. Satellite technologies can also enable the delivery of vital public services like distance learning and telemedicine. Another emerging satellite communications service is new constellations of small satellites to connect devices and people across the “Internet of Things”.

Canada is making renewed investments in satellite communications to help connect all Canadians, including LEO technologies and next generation satellite Internet services. Budget 2018 provided $100 million to the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to support research and development (R&D) of leading-edge LEO satellite technologies with potential to improve internet access in rural and remote regions. Budget 2019 announced new investments for LEO satellite capacity to bring reliable, high-speed Internet access to rural and remote homes and communities. These investments can help improve quality of life and economic opportunities for all Canadians, and position Canada as a global leader in LEO satellite communications.

Major projects

Innovation projects

Legislation and Regulations

Radiocommunication Act, R.S.C. 1985, c R-2

Radiocommunication spectrum is a public resource managed by the Government in the public interest. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is responsible for spectrum planning, the allocation of spectrum to specific uses or services, and the assignment of spectrum to specific users. The Radiocommunication Act is Canada's framework legislation for the management of radiocommunication transmission facilities and radio apparatus.

Visit Spectrum management and telecommunications to learn more about spectrum licencing in Canada.

Government support

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) spurs innovation for a better Canada. Specifically, it serves to simplify application processes, accelerate processing, and provide assistance that is more responsive and focused on results. SIF allocates repayable and non-repayable contributions to firms of all sizes across all of Canada's industrial and technology sectors, across several funding streams.

Space Technology Development Program (STDP)

The Canadian Space Agency’s STDP supports innovation to grow Canada’s space industry and reduce technological unknowns. The program issues contracts to Canadian organizations for the development of technologies to support future needs of the Canadian Space Program and non-repayable contributions to Canadian organizations to support the development of innovative technologies with strong commercial potential.

European Space Agency

Canada is the only non-European cooperating state in ESA. The Cooperation Agreement between Canada and ESA allows Canada to be part of the ESA's decision-making process. Through this unique agreement, Canadian organizations can bid on tenders for ESA contracts related to activities and programs in which Canada participates. It provides opportunities for them to create alliances with European industry and access to space qualification or flight opportunities for their technologies and products.

Visit our Programs and Initiatives page to learn more about government programs that help support businesses develop and commercialise of space innovations.

Other Resources

Visit our resources page to find out more about resources that can help you support your business.