This will be followed up be the public release of the recommendations at a press conference being held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday, November 29th.
What does this mean for the Canadian space industry? As outlined in my June 26th, 2009 blog post "UK joins Canada and the US in "Not Knowing Quite What To Do" with their Space Program," it could mean nothing or it could mean everything. After all, politicians and government institutions form commissions when they don't know what to do or don't really want to do anything but need to create a perception of activity.
Now that the report is finished, the Federal government still has the option of either partially (or totally) accepting (or rejecting) the findings, an activity which can itself be stretched out into quite a large number of perceived and distinct decisions (which is really helpful for governments when they have trouble deciding things but need to convince the public otherwise).
So it's fortunate that the players in the Canadian space industry aren't going to wait until the Federal government digests the Emerson report. Most already have strong ideas on how to maximize competitiveness and encourage innovation, at least at the corporate level and are currently testing out those ideas on a day to day basis.
But back in 2009, the US, UK and Canadian governments were each involved with ongoing reviews of their national space capabilities and those reviews were each perceived of as being critically important.
And maybe they were. Since the Brits released their public report in 2010 (the UK Space Innovation and Growth Strategy), they seem to have figured out what's going on and are moving forward with a "swagger in their step," according to the November 9th, 2012 BBC News article "Space ticks the boxes for UK plc."
The US NewSpace industry is also leaping from success to success for a fraction of the cost of their traditional competition since the public release of the US government report titled the "Review of Human SpaceFlight Plans Committee Report," in October 2009.
Space entrepreneur Elon Musk, fresh from his first low cost Dragon missions to the International Space Station, is even making public comments about privately funded manned trips to Mars and long-term Martian colonization efforts, at least according to the November 23rd, 2012 Space.com article "Huge Mars Colony Eyed by SpaceX Founder Elon Musk."
As for the Canadian government, we seem to be a little slow on the uptake so far. It will be interesting to see if the public release of the Emerson report on November 29th ends up changing this.