Outbreaks of insect pests periodically cause large losses of volume in Canada’s forests. Compounded with climate change, outbreaks create significant challenges for managing the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services. Current methods to monitor damage by these pests involve both field and aerial surveys. While relatively cost effective and timely, aerial survey consistency and spatial coverage may be insufficient for detailed monitoring across Canada’s vast forest-land base. Remote sensing can augment these methods and extend monitoring capabilities in time and space by incorporating knowledge of pest-host interactions and of how damage translates into a remote sensing signal for detection and mapping. This review provides a brief introduction to major forest insect pests in Canada (two bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and six defoliators) and the damage they cause, a synthesis of the literature involving aerial survey and remote sensing, and a discussion of how these two approaches could be integrated into future pest monitoring from a Canadian perspective. We offer some lessons learned, outline roles that remote sensing could serve in a management context, and discuss what ongoing and upcoming technological advances may offer to future forest health monitoring.