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Canada Invests $2B to Fuel AI Innovation

Canada’s 2024 federal budget includes provisions to invest in new computing infrastructure and safety research.

This article originally appeared in AI Business

Canada is investing $2.4 billion in artificial intelligence as part of the country’s annual federal budget. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Sunday.

The investment will be earmarked toward providing AI researchers and startups access to computing capabilities and technical infrastructure.

It includes the creation of a Canadian AI Sovereign Compute Strategy to accelerate the creation of local AI infrastructure solutions. It also creates a Canadian AI Safety Institute to further the safe development and deployment of AI.

“AI has the potential to transform the economy. And our potential lies in capitalizing on the undeniable Canadian advantage,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “These investments in Budget 2024 will help harness the full potential of AI so Canadians, and especially young Canadians, can get good-paying jobs while raising our productivity and growing our economy.

The Canadian AI Safety Institute will receive $50 million to support its efforts. The institute will look to work with international partners to “help Canada better understand and protect against the risks of advanced or nefarious AI systems.”

The budget also includes $200 million to support local startups operating in “critical sectors” including agriculture, health care and manufacturing,

A further $100 million will be available to small and medium-sized businesses from the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. These funds are designed to help smaller firms deploy AI to improve productivity.

Fifty million will be allocated to supporting industries likely to be impacted by AI, including the creative sector, providing them with access to new skills training.

Canada’s Office of the AI and Data Commissioner will receive $5.1 million. The office will be created under the proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, the country’s regulatory framework for AI, which will impose rules that protect citizens’ rights from “high impact AI systems,” similar to the EU AI Act.

“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.

The budget will be before the country’s Parliament later this week by the country’s finance minister before a vote on whether to pass it.

“We are making a significant investment to boost our economic growth,” said Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister and minister of finance. “This will keep Canada a global leader in AI and ensure we are at the very cutting edge of new technologies. And most importantly, this will mean more high-paying careers for Canadians who are leading the charge in AI.”

The Canadian government has invested $1.4 billion since 2017 to support AI research and was the first country in the world to introduce a national AI strategy.

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