Ottawa to pump $443 million into second phase of Pan-Canadian AI Strategy

The federal government announced today the investment of $443 million in the second phase of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

François-Philippe Champagne, speaking at Collision 2022. Photo by Paul Barker.

Speaking at Collision 2022, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said artificial intelligence (AI) is a ”key part of Ottawa’s plan to make our economy stronger than ever. The second phase of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy will help harness the full potential of AI to benefit Canadians and accelerate trustworthy technology development, while fostering diversity and cooperation across the AI domain.”



Budget 2021 funding for the second phase includes:

  • $60 million for Canada’s national AI institutes – Amii in Edmonton, Mila in Montreal and the Vector Institute in Toronto – to help translate AI research into commercial applications and grow the capacity of businesses to adopt these new technologies.
  • $125 million for Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters to accelerate AI commercialization by supporting Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, attracting private investment from other public and private sources, and developing made-in-Canada AI solutions.
  • $8.6 million for the Standards Council of Canada to advance the development and adoption of standards and a conformity assessment program related to AI.
  • $160 million for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) to continue programs to attract, retain, and develop academic research talent and maintain centres of research, innovation and training at Canada’s national AI institutes.
  • $48 million for CIFAR to renew and enhance its advanced research, training, and knowledge mobilization programs.
  • $40 million to provide dedicated computing capacity for AI researchers across Canada.

A release issued by the federal government described AI as “one of the greatest technological advances of our age” and something that has a “significant impact on the daily lives of Canadians.

“AI is a driver of economic growth and good jobs, which is why the Government of Canada is committed to investing in efforts to drive its adoption across our economy and society.”

In 2017, the federal government awarded $125 million in initial investments to CIFAR to create and implement phase one of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, with the “focus on building strong AI ecosystems and a deep Canadian AI talent pipeline, the strategy established three new National AI Institutes: Amii, Mila and the Vector Institute,” the release stated.

In making the announcement, Champagne said it is a “particular exciting and pivotal time for we are about to switch into a more digital world. And obviously, I mean companies like the one that I see here today, coming to Toronto, and providing the solutions that will power the economy of the future is inspiring.

“I want us in Canada to become a leader in the digital and the data driven economy. I want us to be best in class to attract the talent that is gathered here at Collision. I want Canada to be in front of the parade.”

Describing it as a “race to the top,” he said the “second phase of the strategy will focus on those elements that are “crucial for AI, which means commercialization and adoption, standardization and also fostering research.

“This will allow us with you to leverage the potential of artificial intelligence to grow an economy while also continuing to develop, retain, and attract the best talent from around the world.

“In conclusion, this is all about building trust and confidence in the digital economy. This is about responsible development of AI. This is about creating opportunities the young generation of entrepreneurs and business developers who are looking for a future and want a legal framework that will allow them to do that.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. His work has appeared in a number of technology magazines and online with the subject matter ranging from cybersecurity issues and the evolving world of edge computing to information management and artificial intelligence advances.

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