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Government of Canada launches public consultation on artificial intelligence computing infrastructure

Feedback will inform the development and implementation of measures related to Budget 2024’s $2 billion investment to boost Canada’s sovereign AI data processing capacity

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the greatest technological transformations of our age, and it offers transformative opportunities for economic development and productivity enhancements, as well as new opportunities for workers in every sector. To capitalize on these opportunities in a safe and secure way, Canadian researchers and companies will require considerable access to advanced and high-performing computing power, or “compute.” The Government of Canada seeks to build on Canada’s leadership in AI and increase domestic access to the compute power that researchers and AI developers require for training and deployment.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the Consultation on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Compute, which will help inform the design and implementation of a new AI Compute Access Fund and a Canadian AI Sovereign Compute Strategy proposed in Budget 2024. The consultation includes the AI Blueprint, a discussion paper that outlines Canada’s opportunity and ambition on AI.

The consultation will engage Canadian researchers, innovators and businesses in identifying the best strategies for investing in Canada’s AI future, and it will be carried out through a range of means and venues, including online. The government will also engage civil society, Indigenous groups and other interested stakeholders.

Through this consultation, the Government of Canada is taking steps to ensure Canadian organizations, businesses and researchers have access to the compute capacity they need to safeguard Canadian data and intellectual property while pursuing advanced AI.

The government is steadfast in securing Canada’s world-leading AI advantage to create economic growth and well-paying opportunities for generations to come. AI is a rapidly growing sector, and through this consultation, we will help ensure a fair chance for every generation to succeed in this pivotal field.

“Artificial intelligence offers workers and business incredible opportunity, and Canada has proudly always been a leader. This consultation will harness Canadian leadership, from researchers to end users, to help make sure that Canada continues to keep its advantage and that our economy is well positioned to take advantage of all the opportunities of AI. This will strengthen and secure Canada’s AI advantage and domestic access to compute power.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

ADDITIONAL INFO

  • The consultation will be open from June 26 to September 6, 2024.
  • All organizations are invited to participate in this consultation so as to maximize the benefits of this $2 billion investment and ensure sustainable access to sovereign compute capacity. Following completion of the consultation, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will publish a “What We Heard Report” summarizing the feedback received.
  • Since the 1980s, Canada has been a leader in AI, made possible by its deep talent, its leading innovation and the scientific discoveries of Canadian researchers.
  • Insufficient domestic computing capacity exposes Canadian researchers and firms to fragile international supply chains for AI computing power, posing challenges in terms of cost, security of access, and the privacy and security of Canadian data.
  • Budget 2024 announced $2 billion over five years to launch a new AI Compute Access Fund and a Canadian AI Sovereign Compute Strategy, which will provide Canadian researchers and AI companies with the tools needed to be competitive in a rapidly advancing global landscape.
  • Budget 2024 also proposed $50 million to create an AI Safety Institute of Canada to ensure the safe development and deployment of AI.
  • The Government of Canada is supporting the responsible development and adoption of AI across the Canadian economy through a suite of measures—including the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (Bill C-27) and the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Responsible Development and Management of Advanced Generative AI Systems.
  • In 2017, Canada was the first country to establish a national AI strategy. The Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy is helping Canada maintain its position as a world leader in AI, businesses be more competitive and Canadians benefit from growth in the digital economy. Phase 2 of the strategy was announced in 2022, with funding of more than $443 million.

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