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$1.6 million for the establishment of a pre-qualification centre for unmaned aerial systems in Alma

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$1.6 million for the establishment of a pre-qualification centre for unmaned aerial systems in Alma
De gauche à droite : M. Marc Moffatt, directeur général, Centre d’excellence sur les drones, M. Éric Girard, député provincial de Lac-Saint-Jean, adjoint parlementaire du ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, M. Richard Hébert, député fédéral de Lac-Saint-Jean et secrétaire parlementaire de la ministre des Petites Entreprises et de la Promotion des exportations, M. Marc Asselin, maire de la ville d’Alma et M. Alain Fortin, président, Centre d’excellence sur les drones

Alma, July 15, 2019 – The governments of Canada and Quebec are providing a total of $1.6 million in funding to the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (UAS-CE) to support the establishment of the Qualia Pre-Qualification Centre in Alma, in the Saguenay–Lac?Saint?Jean region.

This project, valued at $2.4 million, will enable companies in the civilian and commercial drone sector to validate their products and services, as well as the results of research and development activities associated with the design of drone systems, in real-world situations.

This financial assistance includes a $800,000 non-repayable contribution from the Government of Canada under Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions’s Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program. Funding of $800,000 from the Government of Quebec, through the Programme de soutien aux organismes de recherche et d’innovation, has also been confirmed. The Government of Quebec’s support is in line with the objectives of Quebec’s Aerospace Strategy 2016?2026 to develop the drone sector and its civilian applications.

Mr. Richard Hébert, Member of Parliament for Lac?Saint?Jean and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CED, and Mr. Éric Girard, Member of the National Assembly for Lac?Saint?Jean and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, on behalf of Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Lanaudière Region, made the announcement today.



“The RPAS (drone) sector is expanding rapidly in Québec. By establishing a site where companies from the RPAS sector will be able to test their new products in an optimal way, the CED is supporting their growth ambitions. It responds directly to the need to create synergies among aerospace companies with a view to implementing operational demonstrators and commercializing new products. The StartAéro 360° initiative, which we launched in 2018, is designed specifically to encourage these synergies.”

Suzanne M. Benoît, President of Aéro Montréal.

“I am delighted with CED’s support for the Qualia project, which will contribute to the growth of the local, regional and national economies and the vitality of our communities. This assistance also reaffirms the role that the Government of Canada plays in the development of innovative businesses and organizations here at home and, consequently, in the growth of the Canadian economy.”

Richard Hébert, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Jean and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Businesses and Export Promotion

“The Qualia project is in alignment with the Government of Canada’s priorities by fostering the growth and evolution of inclusive regional innovation ecosystems. It will also support the development of a strong industry by promoting the mobilization, growth and competitiveness of companies in the drone industry. We promote long-term economic development, and that benefits organizations, businesses and communities.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CED

“The establishment of this new centre is of strategic importance for the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region, which, thanks in part to the initiatives of the Centre d’excellence des drones, has developed an expertise that is now recognized in the drone sector. I am convinced that this project will allow our region to gain an even stronger foothold internationally and that it will generate considerable economic spinoffs here and everywhere else in Quebec.”

Éric Girard, Member for Lac?Saint?Jean and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Thanks to the Qualia Pre-Qualification Centre, the UAS-CE will have the necessary infrastructure and equipment to enable Quebec companies in the civil and commercial drone sector to be among the world leaders. We are therefore enthusiastic about supporting this important project, which will strengthen the competitiveness of a key sector of the aerospace industry and whose civil applications are associated with a number of well-established economic sectors in Quebec, such as security, energy, agriculture and natural resources.”

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Lanaudière region



  • Founded in 2011, UAS-CE provides a world-class infrastructure for the design, testing, application and operation of civil and commercial drones. This centre is located at the Alma Airport, which offers a 5,000-foot paved runway, an automated weather information system, navigation systems and other drone testing facilities. In addition, UAS-CE has access to one of the only areas in Canada where drone flights can be conducted beyond visual range.


Related links:

  • For more information about CED and its priorities, see the 2019-2020 Departmental Plan or visit the site at dec-ced.gc.ca.
  • To receive real-time news releases from the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, subscribe to the appropriate RSS feed at economie.gouv.qc.ca/rss.


Link to Qualia Test Site Video


The CED unveils its new brand image

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The CED unveils its new brand image

Alma, MAY 8, 2019 – Eight years after its creation, the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (CED) is acquiring a new brand image. This is a timely rebranding since the integration of the Qualia test centre and the niche of excellence on civil and commercial RPAS whose visual identities have also been redesigned in the process.

The new visual identity revolves around origami: “On the one hand, the CED is a group of members. The juxtaposition of the specialities of each of its members constitute the range of services and expertise offered through the Centre. On the other hand, the Centre of Excellence shapes the industry like an origami work. The folds of the new visual identity testify to the new versatility of the network as well as the services offered in support,explains CED’s marketing and administrative agent Michèle Pelletier. She adds that as it is the case in the drone industry development, none of the logo parts can exist on its own.

Over the years, the CED has acquired a reputation which is highly recognized in the industry. The creation of a niche of excellence on RPAS and the Qualia test site was a perfect moment to improve the Centre’s visual identity to make it more representative, said the CED’s General director Marc Moffatt. 

The CED team is also working on a new website which is expected to be online in a few months. The new website will allow a simpler access to information as well as bring to the fore the new branches of the CED, which are the designated RPAS flight zones (CYR), the Qualia test centre and the niche of excellence.

About the CED and its new branches

Created in 201, the CED puts in place an international centre offering service, expertise and competence development related to the civil and commercial drone sector on a domestic and international level.


The qualification site will help companies prove their expertise in order to obtain contracts from domestic and international clients. A QUALIA seal will assure the clients quality, safety and data precision. In real situations, qualification tests and audits will be performed as distinctive operational scenarios including specific infrastructures in order to reproduce real life environments.


The niche of excellence

The CED hosts the RPAS niche of excellence that includes the industrial, commercial, technical, scientific and governmental players of the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region. The niche of excellence’s mission is to allow the industry to gain a strong and unified structure by putting in place initiatives favouring mobilization, growth and competitiveness in order to strengthen the industry in the long term.