Qualia is the very first Canadian R&D, training and qualification test site for RPAS.

Market needs

The RPAS industry is evolving, with new companies being created everyday to offer new products or services associated with RPAS. In June 2015, a study was carried out among the various players in the RPAS industry. During this study, about twenty companies and organizations were surveyed.

Here are the issues that emerged:
  • The RPAS industry is evolving and new companies are being created every day to offer new products or services associated with RPAS
  • Companies are working to develop and use RPAS in a variety of industries, including public safety, agriculture, forestry, mining, infrastructure inspection, search and rescue, surveying and forest fires
  • Regulation is also constantly evolving and staying abreast of changes remains a challenge for private companies and public organizations looking for products and services
Following the studies carried out by the CED, the idea of a test site was born.

Canada's first test site

Qualia is a test, training and qualification centre located at the CED in Alma. This test site will include the infrastructure and buildings required for research and development purposes and will also serve asa springboard for the prosperity of the CED. The site will provide the following opportunities:
A test site for the R&D of sensors and any other system required for remote sensing, such as software and control systems, including those associated with the platform (RPAS).
An RPAS academy that will use part of the centre's space to offer training and education programs in the following RPAS sectors: maintenance, manufacturing, image and data analysis, embedded systems operator, pilot instructor, pilot training and systems engineers.
A qualification centre offering companies the possibility of obtaining certification, thus proving that they meet all requirements in various sectors such as public safety, emergency management, agriculture, forestry andmining, oil and gas, and hydroelectricity.


The financial assistance granted for the Qualia test site includes an $800,000 contribution from the Government of Quebec through the Programme de soutien aux organismes de recherche et d'innovation, which is also confirmed for 2016. It should be noted that the Government of Québec's support is in line with the objective of the 2016-2026 Québec Aerospace Strategy to develop the RPAS sector and its civil applications.

A non-repayable contribution of $800,000 was also provided in 2019 by the Government of Canada under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program of Canada Economic Development for Québec Regions.

Following the Government of Canada's announcement, the City of Alma will join the effort by also contributing $800,000 to the project, for a total of $2.4million.

The Qualia test centre will be located on the Alma Airport site, alongside the CED.

To learn more about the Qualia test site