Canada PM Justin Trudeau Announces $1.8 Billion Investment Package to Boost Canada's AI Sector

By Leira Aquino

Apr 07, 2024 10:46 PM EDT

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans for a $1.8 billion (C$2.4 billion) investment to fuel Canada's AI sector.
(Photo : SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has revealed Sunday plans for a significant investment of $1.8 billion (C$2.4 billion) to propel Canada's artificial intelligence (AI) sector forward. 

This announcement comes as part of the upcoming Budget 2024 and aims to accelerate job growth in the AI and tech industry while enhancing businesses' productivity.

Trudeau's Investment Targets AI Growth and Workforce Adaptation

"This 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," Trudeau said in a press release

The investment breakdown includes $1.47 billion (C$2 billion) allocated to bolster computing capabilities and technological infrastructure access. 

This funding will directly support AI researchers, start-ups, and scale-ups in Canada, providing them with the necessary resources to advance their work.

Additionally, C$200 million will be invested in AI start-ups, focusing on critical sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing. The goal is to accelerate the development and adoption of AI technologies in these vital areas.

Furthermore, C$100 million will be allocated to the NRC IRAP AI Assist Program, supporting small and medium-sized businesses in scaling up and enhancing productivity through AI solutions.

The government is also keen to address potential workforce disruptions due to AI adoption. 

To this end, C$50 million will go towards training workers in sectors that may be impacted by AI technologies, ensuring a smooth transition and skill development.

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Canadian Government's Investment Includes $50 Million for AI Safety Institute

One of the key highlights of this investment package is the establishment of the Canadian AI Safety Institute, with a budget of C$50 million. 

The institute will focus on ensuring the responsible development and deployment of AI systems, safeguarding against potential risks posed by advanced or nefarious AI technologies.

In addition to these measures, C$5.1 million will be directed towards strengthening the enforcement of the proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act through the Office of the AI and Data Commissioner.

Trudeau's pre-budget announcements have been part of a broader strategy to address various economic and societal challenges, including housing affordability and childcare. 

The government's commitment to fostering innovation and supporting key sectors reflects its vision for a resilient and competitive Canadian economy in the face of global technological advancements.

"This will keep Canada a global leader in AI and ensure we are at the very cutting-edge of new technologies," Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, remarked. "And most importantly, this will mean more high-paying careers for Canadians who are leading the charge in AI."

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau Introduces 'Online Harms Act' To Regulate Content On Facebook, YouTube and Other Platforms

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