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Éric Caire believes that AI could help reduce the size of the State

Photo: Jacques Boissinot La Presse canadienne «C’est une promesse de notre gouvernement de réduire la taille de l’État de 5000 postes», a déclaré jeudi le ministre Éric Caire.

The Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs, Éric Caire, believes that artificial intelligence could help the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) achieve its electoral promise to cut 5,000 positions in the public service.

In a press conference on Thursday, Mr. Caire affirmed that it is possible to reduce the size of the State thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) without harming the delivery of services public.

The minister announced pilot projects for the integration of automation and artificial intelligence in public administration. In 2018, the CAQ promised to reduce the number of positions in the public service, an objective which, according to Mr. Caire, has not yet been achieved.

“It is a promise from our government to reduce the size of the state by 5,000 positions,” he declared. We think that in the coming years, there will be 20,000 retirements. »

Mr. Caire said that AI could help reduce the number of state employees without causing job losses.

“We believe that we are entirely capable of reconciling the integration of artificial intelligence, our ability to support our employees in this transition in a respectful manner and by allowing them to seek skills to be kept in employment within the government with new challenges and, through attrition, reduce the number of positions according to the promise we made”, specified the minister.

No risk

According to the minister, the main objective of integrating AI into public administration is not, however, to reduce its workforce.

“There could be a reduction in positions because that is an objective that we had,” he said. This was not achieved and I do not claim that this project is its objective. »

Even if the government is still considering the legislative approach to regulate this sector, Mr. Caire affirmed that projects can be initiated “at low risk”.

These initiatives currently concern the automation of repetitive tasks in specific sectors, such as the processing of insurance forms for public sector employees. The process that will be tested could save the equivalent of 135 days of work within the targeted administrative unit.

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Another of these projects aims to develop a conversational agent service which, thanks to AI, will be able to respond to email requests on the government data site.

“We will start with smaller projects, which do not affect essential services and which are low risk until we have more formal supervision and above all a higher level of expertise important,” said the minister.


This announcement follows the submission, at the beginning of February, of a report from the Quebec Innovation Council on artificial intelligence, which contained several recommendations, including the adoption of a framework law for this sector.

On this subject, Mr. Caire explained that the government has not yet completed its reflection.

“We must find a legal formulation which will allow us to have ethical supervision, successful integration of AI, avoid dangers, but which will also allow us to continue to do research and develop products, integrating them into our respective organizations,” he said.

Mr. Caire wanted to be reassuring after the fiasco that he himself had observed after the entry into operation of the SAAQclic digital platform at the Société d'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) last year.

“I understand that SAAQclic has captured the imagination, I am completely aware of it,” he confided. I am fully aware of the reputational damage that this story has caused to the Quebec government. »

According to the minister, the Quebec government delivered 315 information resources projects in 2023-2024, compared to 218 the previous year.

“The government of Quebec has demonstrated that it is entirely capable of delivering large-scale projects,” he underlined.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116