Canada announces $2.4 billion for AI-related investments

Canada is now focusing on a big artificial intelligence push, with $2.4 billion set aside for AI-related investments to improve job growth and boost productivity.

In a government press release published yesterday (April 7) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has laid out the measures of the multi-billion pound package as the “global race to scale up and adopt AI is on.”

With the country being the first to establish a national AI strategy back in 2017, with more than $443 million of funding provided in 2022, the government is positioning itself as a leader in the space.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains the investment: “AI has the potential to transform the economy. And our potential lies in capitalizing on the undeniable Canadian advantage.

“These investments in Budget 2024 will harness the full potential of AI so Canadians, especially young Canadians, can get good-paying jobs while raising our productivity, and growing our economy.

“The announcement is a major investment in our future, in the future of workers, in making sure that every industry, and every generation, has the tools to succeed and prosper in the economy of tomorrow.”

More investments are likely to be revealed in the 2024 Budget that will be tabled in the House of Commons on April 16.

How the money will be used for AI-related investments

The bulk of the new investment ($2 billion) will be used to “build and provide access to computing capabilities and technological infrastructure” for AI researchers, start-ups, and scale-ups.

Start-ups will see further support in bringing new technologies to the market, especially those looking to adopt AI in the agriculture, clean technology, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. There’ll be $200 million in support for this through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.

The NRC IRAP AI Assist Program which focuses on helping small and medium-sized businesses scale up and improve productivity will see a $100 million boost as part of the plan.

A Canadian AI Safety Institute will be established to further the safe development and deployment of AI, with $50 million set aside for this venture.

There will be support for workers who may be impacted by AI, such as creative industries, with $50 million included for the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. This will provide new skills training.

The last slice of the money, at $5.1 million, will go towards strengthening the enforcement of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act. The proposed Act aims to guide AI innovation and protect people from potential risks.

Featured Image: Photo by Jason Hafso on Unsplash

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Sophie Atkinson