Canada, Regulating AI

Where’s Canada?

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I have written about American, EU and British governance endeavours from governmental institutions on this blog. I have noted the Toronto Declaration which although emanating from Canada is not a governmental initiative. But I have not written much (anything?) about Canadian governmental initiatives in AI regulation except for maybe the discussion about the G7 Charlevoix communique (which, frankly, is not the best document so I’m going to not link to it again and obviously it isn’t 100% Canadian in any case.

This being a Canadian blog about AI governance and regulation, you might think I’d put more emphasis on Canadian intiatives in AI regulation. The problem is, I can’t find them.

I’m not the first to notice this.

If you pop over to the Policy & Ethics page of Canada.ai, most of the references you’ll find to Canadian governmental action are about the Canadian government using AI as opposed to regulating it. Actually they’re mostly about the Canadian government one day hoping to use it to solve whatever is the current probleme-du-jour.

There’s some kind of consultation process going on here, which in the explanatory quote from the Minister mentions AI once, but it’s not really clear whether it is actually going to engage on AI regulation.

I’m not sure why we are experiencing this total lacunae but it seems pretty problematic. Maybe it’s an oversight in the mandate letter for the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Maybe, as I’ve written before there’s a question as to whether it is in the mandate of the federal or provincial governments (I doubt actually that anyone has thought that much about it). But in any case, the silence on the point is weird.

And the problem to me is not that the “longer Canada defers effective AI governance, the harder it will be to catch up” as the subhead in the article I linked to states. It’s that as other states move ahead with their governance, we’re going to be stuck with whatever gets significant adoption elsewhere first, even if we don’t like it.

2 thoughts on “Where’s Canada?”

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