Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy


CIFAR is leading the Government of Canada’s $125 million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, working in partnership with three newly established AI institutes – the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) in Edmonton, Mila in Montreal and the Vector Institute in Toronto.

Announced in the 2017 federal budget, the Strategy has four major goals:

  •   To increase the number of outstanding artificial intelligence researchers and skilled graduates in Canada.
  •   To establish interconnected nodes of scientific excellence in Canada’s three major centres for artificial intelligence in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto.
  •   To develop global thought leadership on the economic, ethical, policy and legal implications of advances in artificial intelligence.
  •   To support a national research community on artificial intelligence.

Expected Results

Over the next five years, CIFAR will collaborate with the Canadian research community to:

  •   enhance Canada’s international profile in AI research and training;
  •   increase the productivity in AI academic research and enhanced capacity to generate world-class research and innovation;
  •   increase collaboration across geographic areas of excellence in AI research and strengthen relationships with receptors of innovation;
  •   attract and retain outstanding AI talent in Canadian universities and industry;
  •   and translate AI research discoveries in the private and public sectors leading to socio-economic benefits for Canada.


  •   AI Institutes. The strategy funds three centres of excellence in AI research and innovation in Canada’s three major centres for deep learning and reinforcement learning research – in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto. These three AI Institutes provide a critical mass of research and innovation excellence, and work with researchers, industry and other stakeholders across Canada.

  •   Canada CIFAR AI (CCAI) Chairs Program. As international competition for machine learning researchers intensifies, the Canada CIFAR AI Chairs Program will help Canada retain and recruit top academic researchers and allow them the freedom to carry out research, train students, and interact with industry. The CCAI Chairs Program supports the recruitment and training of young researchers, including both graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. It includes funding for graduate students who will work with the CCAI Chairs, as well as training for students at the three AI Institutes.

    All nominations for CCAI Chairs must be made by the AI Institutes.
    Successful nominees will be leaders in their field of AI research, or in the case of early career researchers, have demonstrated potential to become leaders. The research strengths and expertise of CCAI Chairs must align with the research priorities of the nominating AI Institute. Universities that are interested in exploring a potential nomination for a faculty member should have their Vice-President Research or designate contact Elissa Strome, who will provide the contact information for the appropriate AI Institute.

  •   AI & Society Program. Advances in AI will have profound implications for the economy, government and society. The Strategy funds policy-relevant working groups to examine these implications, publish their findings and inform the public and policy-makers.

  •   National AI Program. The Strategy includes a program of national activities that build on CIFAR’s success with summer and winter schools in AI, and support activities that are national and collaborative in scope such as an annual meeting of Canada CIFAR AI Chairs. Our National Program activities will ensure that Canada is well-positioned for sustained global leadership in AI research and innovation.

Pan-Canadian AI Strategy National Meeting

December 3, 2018, Montreal
Save the date and check back here regularly for more details.


National  Program Committee

Bio Outline

Prof. Doina Precup (Chair) 
Assoc. Professor of Computer Science, McGill University; CIFAR Fellow; Mila faculty member


Prof. Michael Bowling
Professor of Computing Science, University of Alberta; Amii faculty member


Dr. Myriam Côté
Director AI for humanity, Mila


Dr. Garth Gibson
President and CEO, Vector Institute

Bio Outline

Prof. Randy Goebel
Professor of Computing Science, University of Alberta; Amii faculty member


Dr. Roger Grosse
Asst. Professor of Computer Science, University of Toronto; Vector Institute faculty member


Prof. Greg Mori
Professor of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University; Research Director, Borealis AI Vancouver


Valerie Pisano
President and CEO, Mila

Elissa Strome

Dr. Elissa Strome
Executive Director, Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, CIFAR


Prof. Peter Van Beek
Professor of Computer Science, Co-Director Waterloo AI Institute, University of Waterloo

International Scientific Advisory Committee

Elissa Strome

Dr. Elissa Strome 

Executive Director
Pan-Canadian AI Strategy,
Shirley Tilghman

Prof. Shirley Tilghman

Chair; President Emerita,
Princeton University;
United States

Dr. Jennifer Chayes
Technical Fellow & Managing Director; Microsoft Research New England,
New York City and Montreal


Dr. Victoria Krakovna
Research Scientist, DeepMind; Co-Founder, Future of Life Institute, United Kingdom
Yann LaCun

Prof. Yann LeCun
Co-Director, CIFAR Program in Learning in Machines & Brains; Chief AI Scientist, Facebook Professor, New York University, United States

Fei Fei Li

Prof. Fei-Fei Li
Director, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab; Associate Professor, Stanford University; Advisor, Google AI
United States

Antoine Petit

Prof. Antoine Petit
Member, CIFAR Research Council; President, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS),  France

Sebastian Seung

Prof. Sebastian Seung
Advisor, CIFAR Program in Learning in Machines & Brains; Evnin Professor in Neuroscience,
Professor of Computer Science, Princeton Neuroscience Institute; Chief Research Scientist, Samsung
United States

Max Welling

Prof. Max Welling
CIFAR Fellow, Program in Learning in Machines & Brains; Vice-President Technologies, Qualcomm;
Research Chair in Machine Learning University of Amsterdam, Netherlands