Governments have been the leading providers and users of satellite imagery data since the advent of earth observation satellites (i.e. almost 40 years ago). However, this has changed, particularly in the United States, with several private companies having acquired and launched their own imaging satellite systems. This new trend towards commercialization and privatization of the remote sensing industry, which appeared firstly in the United States and which is now being extended to Canada, required a change in policy. The role played by the government policies and regulations in shaping the prospects for the emerging commercial remote sensing satellite firms is of critical importance. In this context, these policies and regulations will determine the conditions that will enable commercial firms to realize their competitive potential in both the domestic and international marketplace.