Ensuring responsible use of artificial intelligence to improve government services for Canadians
March 4, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Providing better programs and services for Canadians in the 21st century requires good government digital services, including the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) to support sound decision making.
Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, launched the Directive on Automated Decision Making to guide government departments in the transparent and accountable use of AI.
Her announcement comes as part of a day-long discussion with public servants and industry around the efforts, opportunities and challenges to deliver ground-breaking artificial intelligence solutions for government.
As a leading digital nation, Canada is taking steps to harness the potential of AI. Early and significant investments, such as the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy and AI Supercluster Initiative, have helped create a deep well of expertise in research and business that is recognized internationally.
Canada is also leading in establishing an effective framework within which this work will take place. Open engagement with academia, industry and other governments culminated in the Directive on Automated Decision Making. A milestone in public policy, the directive’s development is the result of a process unprecedented in government for its degree of collaboration and openness.
The government is also tapping into top AI talent through a modernized procurement process. This has resulted in a list of pre-qualified suppliers of AI expertise, who were evaluated in part on their ability to implement AI solutions responsibly and ethically.
By setting the right conditions now, the Government of Canada can realize the promise of AI while ensuring an ethical and accountable approach to its use that is centred on people.
“Artificial intelligence gives government an invaluable opportunity to improve services to the Canadians we serve. Canada’s leadership in the field of artificial intelligence and our burgeoning AI industry are creating a powerful partnership to improve digital government for the betterment of all.”
- The Honourable Jane Philpott, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
“Our government is investing strategically in Canadian artificial intelligence and is leading a streamlined and outcomes-based procurement process for the acquisition of AI solutions. The new list of pre-qualified suppliers for artificial intelligence technologies is a prime example of how we are using an agile procurement approach to provide the right tools to federal organizations—all while aiming to improve services for Canadians.”
- The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
Canada led the development of AI guiding principles, which were adopted by leading digital nations at the recent D9 conference in November, 2018.
Over the last 2 years, the Government of Canada has invested strategically in the Canadian AI ecosystem, with successive budgets allocating $125 million toward the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy and $950 million for the Superclusters initiative, which are generating cutting-edge research, investment, and talent in Canada.
A key mechanism for delivering ethical AI is being open and transparent. Canada has proven that it can do this well as we were recently assessed #1 in this year’s Web Foundation Open Data Barometer.
Canada’s Digital Academy is providing tools and resources needed for public servants to develop their skills in fields such as AI.
Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
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