Canada Announces A $2.4 Billion Investment In AI
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Canada Announces A $2.4 Billion Investment In AI

  • The Federal Government of Canada has announced a $2.4 billion investment in artificial intelligence (AI) in Budget 2024.
  • $2 billion will be allocated to improve computing power and infrastructure.
  • The focus of this investment is to boost AI startups and research.

The Canadian federal government announced a hefty $2.4 billion package to build capacity in AI (artificial intelligence). 

In the upcoming 2024 budget, a big chunk of this investment, amounting to $2 billion, will be allocated to improve the nation’s computing power for AI researchers, startups, and for scaling up projects.

Canadian prime minister Justine Trudeau made an announcement at Scale AI’s office in Montreal on a pre-budget tour that, despite the fact that Canada already has an advanced AI ecosystem, other countries have made significant progress in the field with big investments in the AI sector. The government added,

“To maintain Canada’s competitive edge, and secure good-paying jobs and job security for generations of young Canadians, we must raise the bar.”

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The Federal Government’s Sizeable Investment In AI

The Canadian government has also announced $405 million to help boost the AI startup scene in the country so that they can develop and launch new tech in the market and further AI adoption, especially in critical sectors and in SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses). 

This fund will also be utilized to create a new Canadian AI Safety Institute, and to support the workforce that gets affected by AI, and to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the AIDA (Artificial Intelligence and Data Act).

The federal government is also allocating $100 million for the National Research Council for industrial research assistance to help SMBs build and deploy AI projects. 

$200 million out of the $400 million mentioned above will be allocated for AI startups that are looking to commercialize their AI solutions in sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, cleantech, and agriculture. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said,

“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 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.”

He also added,

“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.”

An office will also be setup for the AI and Data Commissioner, who’s duty will be to enforce the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act once it gets approved. 

Among the funds, CAD $50 million will be allocated for skill training initiatives for workers whose jobs may get impacted by AI advancements. This will make sure that no one is left behind in the AI boom.

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Response From Industry And The Press

The Canadian press and professionals from the tech industry were calling for a sizable initiative to help boost AI progress in the country. Marieke Walsh, senior political reporter for Globeandmail and a Burns fellow, posted on X previously Twitter, “This time: $2.4-billion for AI and computing capabilities and infrastructure.”

She mentioned Joe Castaldo, a business reporter at the same newspaper, who criticized the Canadian government for a lack of investment in AI infrastructure in one of his articles back in March. His article mentioned,

“An underinvestment in computing power is threatening the country’s AI advantage.”

Aidan Gomez, CEO of Cohear, a Canadian multinational technology company that specializes in large language models, showed his excitement on X, saying,

“Oh wow, Canada is playing to win the AI game again.”

His company, Cohear’s Handle, also celebrated the news.

“We’re excited to see the Canadian government continue to play a global leadership role in fostering AI innovation. Now we will have the most forward-looking national compute and AI adoption strategy!”

This investment in AI from the Canadian Liberal government will definitely play an important role in shaping Canada’s tech future, but the government still has to come up with ways for the private sector to leverage benefits especially from the AI Compute Access Fund. 

But, in any case, this initiative will have a positive impact on Canada’s AI progress. The budget for 2024 will be announced on 16th of April.

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