RCAF commander Michael Hood says the pilot died in the accident, which occurred during a routine training mission. Hood was appearing at a Senate committee when news of the crash broke.
Cold Lake is the site of a major Canadian air force base on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“Shortly after 11 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, a single-seat CF-188 Hornet from 4 Wing Cold Lake crashed inside the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan, not far from the Primrose Lake Evaluation Range,” the military said in a statement.
Emergency services, including 417 Combat Support Squadron, were en route to secure the area of the crash.
The pilot has not yet been identified, pending notification of kin.
MPs discussed the crash solemnly during question period.
Conservative defence critic James Bezan called the crash a "terrible, terrible accident.”
The cause of the crash currently remains unknown,
“It's too preliminary to make any type of judgement, any conclusion,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said. “The best thing we can do right now is to give the Air Force and the Canadian Armed Forces the space to do the work, and then we'll have more to say.”
On Facebook, Conservative leader Rona Ambrose offered her condolences.
“Any loss of life within Canada’s proud military is a tragic event, one that is deeply felt by the Forces community and the friends and loved ones of the deceased,” her statement read. “As we await more details from the Department of National Defence and Forces officials, our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot’s family and the Canadian Armed Forces members at CFB Cold Lake.”
According to The Canadian Press, at least 10 pilots have died in crashes involving Canada’s fleet of CF-18s since they were purchased in 1980. The Liberal government is currently looking at ways to replace and prolong the life of the aging aircraft.
With files from the Canadian Press