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Ottawa designs an AI strategy for a more efficient public service

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press The strategy is not aimed at reducing the number of jobs in the federal public service, Treasury Board President Anita Anand said Monday.

Anja Karadeglija – The Canadian Press

Published yesterday at 3:48 p.m.

  • Canada

Ottawa is designing a new artificial intelligence (AI) strategy for federal government operations, Treasury Board President Anita Anand said Monday.

< p>During a meeting of experts in Gatineau, Minister Anand spoke of a big step towards a coherent federal approach to AI. The objective is to make government operations more efficient and improve services to Canadians, while enhancing scientific and research capacity.

Ms. Anand stated that the question is how to increase efficiency while also simplifying the interactions of Canadians, organizations and businesses with federal services.

She emphasized that AI could be used to automate routine tasks, but said generative AI “generally won’t be used” when it comes to confidential processes like those involving cabinet confidences.

The strategy does not aim to reduce the number of jobs in the federal public service, she also maintained.

The initiative will include the creation of a specific division to train serving civil servants. Anand added that the government would also work to “rapidly and competitively” recruit qualified people in high-level technology sectors.

In addition to Monday's expert meeting, the government will conduct broad consultations in the coming months before unveiling the strategy. There is no deadline for producing the strategy.

The federal government has already begun integrating AI into its operations, using technology from hundreds in different ways.

As Canada's largest employer, the federal government sets an example for private sector employers, said Ms. Anand.

She said there is a need to strike a balance when it comes to using AI responsibly, which includes ensuring that laws on privacy protections are respected and that AI is not used for “discriminatory or unsavory” purposes.

Eight other organizations adhere to the AI ​​code

Additionally, eight other organizations have signed on to the federal government's voluntary code of conduct on artificial intelligence.

These organizations include computer maker Lenovo, software company Salesforce, credit card company Mastercard and business systems company Kyndryl.

Canadian signatories include Toronto technology hub MaRS Discovery District, the virtual tutor operator Alloprof, the consulting company Levio and the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtageimmobilier du Québec (OACIQ).

The adopters of the code launched last year must agree to take several steps to reduce AI risks, including monitoring data sets for potential bias and monitoring systems for potential harm.

While big names in AI like Cohere, the Vector Institute and Mila – Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence – have already accepted the code alongside tech companies like BlackBerry, IBM and Telus, others have criticized the guidelines.

The founder and CEO of Shopify, Tobi Lütke, said he would not support the code because it says the country no longer needs “referees” and instead needs to encourage people to start businesses in Canada.< /p>

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