New investment is making an Alberta village the Foremost for developing aerial systems technology

News release

New equipment for testing facility bolsters Alberta’s burgeoning unmanned air systems sector

September 24, 2018 – Foremost, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

The Government of Canada is funding enhanced aerial systems technology at the Foremost Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Range.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada announced an investment of $225,000 through the Western Diversification Program to support the purchase of specialized safety equipment for the Foremost Unmanned Air Systems Range. The safety system is required to test unmanned aerial vehicles beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

In addition to the Government of Canada’s support, investments of $300,000 from the Government of Alberta, $35,000 from the Palliser Economic Partnership, and $30,000 from the Village of Foremost will contribute to the purchase of equipment and completing the safety system at the range.

The Government of Canada’s investment in the Foremost UAS Range represents an opportunity for Alberta to become a leader of BVLOS technologies and applications. The facility offers unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators 700 square nautical miles of restricted airspace up to 18,000 feet above sea level and is one of two airspaces to have Transport Canada’s certification for beyond visual line of site operations. 

It is anticipated this project will assist 12 companies, support six prototype demonstrations in an operational environment and help commercialize new and innovative UAV technologies.

Budget 2017 recognizes that travel and transportation are evolving, and the Government of Canada is committed to working with industry, provinces, territories and municipalities to test new, unmanned systems technologies.


“Unmanned vehicles are becoming increasingly common in Canadian skies. This technology is destined to have a major influence over how we live our lives, conduct business and care for the environment. Our investment in the Foremost Unmanned Air Systems Range will help our country’s innovators lead the world in developing unmanned systems technologies.”

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Alberta is home to a growing number of companies with expertise in various areas of UAS development. Investing in infrastructure like the Foremost Unmanned Air Systems Range will help businesses strengthen their global competitiveness and help equip the next generation of innovators with the skills required to build leading-edge UAS technology.”

- The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods

“The Village of Foremost would like to thank the Federal Government along with the Alberta Government and Palliser Economic Partnership for their financial support of our Foremost UAS Test Range. It will help us provide a place to advance the unmanned air systems industry in Canada.”

- Councilor Lorne Buis, Deputy Mayor of the Village of Foremost

“Unmanned vehicles are both on the job in Alberta and creating jobs in Alberta. Our drive for innovation means supporting product development at facilities like the Foremost Unmanned Air Systems Range and helps our world-class innovators collaborate across sectors. The incredible products they create are diversifying the Alberta economy and engaging our impressive range of skills and knowledge in related areas like robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced sensors and geomatics.”

- Deron Bilous, Minister of Alberta Economic Development and Trade

“The use of unmanned air systems (UAS) is still in its infancy and to move to the next level, companies need to test their systems beyond the line of sight. The Foremost UAS Range is only one of two places in Canada where that kind of testing can happen. Palliser Economic Partnership is proud to partner with governments of Canada and Alberta to support Foremost in developing the safety systems necessary to enhance the beyond visual line of sight testing capabilities. The arrival of these companies will have economic spin off effects far beyond Foremost into the rest of the Palliser region in southeast Alberta.”

- Jay Slemp, Chairman of the Palliser Economic Partnership

Quick facts

  • Unmanned Systems Canada forecasts $1.6 billion revenues for the unmanned aerial systems sector in 2018.

  • There are more than 70 Alberta companies, military agencies and educational institutions working in unmanned vehicle systems research, testing, development and manufacturing.

Associated links


Donna Kinley
Manager, Consultation, Marketing and Communications
Western Economic Diversification Canada – Alberta Region

Doug Hanna
General Manager, Foremost UAS Test Range
Village of Foremost

Walter Valentini
Executive Director
Palliser Economic Partnership

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