In the sixth of a series of blogs from our global offices, we provide an overview of key trends in artificial intelligence in Canada.
What is Canada’s Strategy for Artificial Intelligence?
In 2017, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) received $125M in federal funding to lead the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. The 2021 Federal Budget proposes to provide nearly $440M in additional support to the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, aimed at facilitating nationwide AI research and training programs.
The majority of AI policy applicable to government services is centralized within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). Among its many roles, the TBS provides leadership to digital government, open government, open data and AI (e.g. the Directive on Automated Decision-Making).
What are the leading Canadian research institutions for Artificial Intelligence?
Federal funding commitments under the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy has enabled Canada’s national AI Institutes – Vector, Amii, and Mila – to attract research talent and collaborate with various universities, such as the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, the Université de Montréal and McGill University. Together, the national AI Institutes supervise 1,200 AI trainees.
In October of 2021, McGill University received $84M and the Université de Montréal received $93.5M in additional funding under the Canadian First Research Excellence Fund for AI related research proposals.
What laws and regulations is Canada developing for Artificial Intelligence?
Although Canada is not yet at the stage of developing a comprehensive AI regulatory regime, there is movement at both the federal and provincial levels to develop updated frameworks for regulating AI. Recent highlights include:
- the federal government launched a public consultation on a modern copyright framework for AI and the Internet of Things (IoT);
- the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released recommendations for reform under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, informed by its public consultation on AI related privacy concerns; and
- Bill C-11 (currently defunct but expected to re-emerge) and Québec’s Bill 64 both address the concept of “algorithmic transparency” and individual rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.
Where to get advice on Artificial Intelligence law and regulation
Gowling WLG has a global team of lawyers advising on all aspects of AI law and regulation. See our service page on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Law for more details.
About the author(s)
Christopher Alam is a partner practising with the Financial Services Group in Gowling WLG's Toronto office.