Canadian, Quebec governments pledge $15 million to create AI centre in Montréal


The federal and Quebec governments have announced the creation of a Montréal-based international centre of expertise for the advancement of artificial intelligence as part of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), which was recently discussed at the G7 Leaders’ Summit.

“Montréal was ideally suited to host this centre of expertise.”
– Minister Nadine Girault

The federal government will invest up to $10 million over five years to support the activities of the centre once it commences operations. This commitment is in addition to a $5 million grant previously committed by Quebec, and awarded to Montréal International, to create or attract an international AI organization, bringing total government investment to $15 million over five years.

“The Montréal ecosystem is recognized as a leader in AI,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science, and economic development. “Quebec’s collaboration on the centre of expertise in artificial intelligence will contribute significantly to the coordination of efforts on artificial intelligence in order to anticipate issues associated with this technology and promote its responsible adoption, both in Canada and on a global scale.”

The federal government that the centre of expertise will be aimed at contributing to the responsible development of AI, based on ethical principles, human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth. Its purpose will be to examine ways of expanding Canada’s capacity to commercialize and adopt AI-enabled tech. The centre will comprise a collaboration between the private and public sectors and the scientific community.

The AI centre will be supported by organizations like the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies, which is funded by the Quebec government. It will also assist the work of the federal government’s Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence, formed in May. Minister Bains and Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophoni Nadine Girault are also developing a statement of understanding that affirms Quebec’s role as an “essential partner” in responsible AI development.

“Thanks to its significant scientific network, large university community, and innovative companies, as well as the work of its distinguished researchers, Montréal was ideally suited to host this centre of expertise,” said Girault. “Quebec’s unique status within the GPAI will also give a voice to both the government and the ecosystem it represents. This agreement, which is the result of the intensive work of, and collaboration between, the two levels of government over the last several weeks, reaffirms the Government of Quebec’s commitment to positioning the province’s expertise among the world’s best and expanding its power of influence.”

Image courtesy Unsplash

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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