The economic potential of artificial intelligence (AI) has been like a siren song for many governments, and Canada is no exception. According to Statista, a private data company, Canada was home to 0.7 percent of all worldwide private investment and public financing for AI between 2013 and 2018. That puts it in fifth place among the world’s countries, far behind China (60 percent) and the United States (29 percent). Yet AI raises numerous questions of ethics and governance. The countless applications of this multifaceted technology can have negative effects in many different areas.
Canada has recently taken steps to promote an ethical and inclusive approach to AI. In December 2018, Canada and France announced the creation of an alliance. Canada’s research community has also united to establish safeguards on AI development. In December 2018, university researchers in Quebec issued the Montreal Declaration for the Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence. To date, nearly 1,400 private individuals and 41 organizations have signed it.