Review of the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act

RADARSAT2 (Canadian Space Agency)


For decades, Canada has been a pioneering force and a global leader in the design, manufacture and operation of state-of-the-art remote sensing technology.

The Canadian Remote Sensing Space Systems Act (RSSSA) /Loi sur les systèmes de télédétection spatiale (LSTS) was enacted in 2005 with the objective of regulating the operation of Canadian remote sensing space systems and the distribution of data collected by such systems. The RSSSA and its implementing Remote Sensing Space Systems Regulations (RSSSR) together form the legal framework to enhance the competitiveness of Canada’s remote sensing space industry, while ensuring that remote sensing activities conducted by Canadians persons and corporations and/or in Canada are in line with Canada’s national security, national defence and foreign policy interests. In Canada, the regulation and licensing of remote sensing activities falls under the responsibility of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).


Ad-Hoc Remote Sensing Space Systems Act Advisory Committee

Recognising the expertise of the Institute of Air and Space Law in providing objective legal and policy advice to governments and industry stakeholders, the Institute was engaged by GAC to provide independent reviews of the Act in both 2012 and 2017. Both of these independent reviews were conducted by Professor Ram Jakhu and colleagues, and provided much of the foundations for policy debates and the impetus for legislative reform.

Following the most recent review, GAC and the Institute co-hosted and convened a series of meetings of the Ad-Hoc Remote Sensing Space Systems Act Advisory Committee. The objective of the Advisory Committee was to draw on the knowledge and expertise of its members to critically review the Act, its Regulations and their implementation, with a view to proposing changes and actions that would ensure the regulatory framework is in line with emerging trends and developments in the industry.

In total, there were 15 members of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee, which included persons from various departments of the Government of Canada, industry stakeholders, interest groups, and foreign remote sensing regulation experts. The meetings, conducted under Chatham House Rules, were co-chaired by a member of the Institute and a member from GAC.

The Review Committee’s discussions centred on a number of findings and recommendations from the 2017 Independent Review, and three key considerations:

  1. What can be accomplished without changes to the Act or Regulations?
  2. What can be accomplished by changing the Regulations?
  3. What can be accomplished by changing the Act?

The mandate of the Review Committee and issues the Review Committee focused on are contained in the "RSSSA Renewal" document and the "What can be done when" document.

To help engage and inform the public about its efforts, the minutes of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee (available in English and French) are provided below.


For more information about the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee or to provide feedback, RSSSA-LSTS [at] (subject: Review%20of%20the%20RSSSA) (please contact GAC).

    Minutes and supporting documents of the Ad-Hoc Remote Sensing Space Systems Act Advisory Committee meetings

    Below are the minutes from the meetings of the Advisory Committee meetings, as well as supporting documents or papers that were presented as part of the Committee's discussions (if available).

    The overview of the work and conclusions of the Advisory Committee can be found in the Wrap-Up Report.

    RSSSA Independent Reviews

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