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Canada and France make historic commitment to inclusive and ethical AI

by CIFAR Jun 6 / 18

CIFAR congratulates Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron on historic commitment to create international study group on inclusive and ethical AI

CIFAR applauds Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron on their commitment to engage experts in all sectors of society and areas of research globally to better understand how to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that benefit all.

“AI has the potential to change almost everything about how we work and live. We enthusiastically endorse the creation of an international study group charged with understanding emerging AI technologies and how to ensure they are beneficial. We look forward to working with our partners in Canada and internationally to support this commitment,” says Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of CIFAR.

The plan was announced by Trudeau and Macron on June 7, ahead of the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec. The independent expert group will bring together specialists from government, internationally recognized scientists, and representatives from industry and civil society. It will identify challenges and opportunities presented by AI, and work to enunciate best practices to ensure that AI fulfills its potential of creating economic and societal benefits.

As a Canadian-based global research institute, CIFAR manages the $125 million federal Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. CIFAR is working with partners around the world on AI and its societal implications, including the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France and UK Research and Innovation in the United Kingdom.

Through the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy and other efforts, Canada is a leader in AI research and innovation, including some recent initiatives in ethical AI. (For highlights of some activities underway across the country, please read the backgrounder below.)

“Today’s announcement builds on Canada’s longstanding leadership in AI research and innovation and the vibrant social science and policy community in Canada,” said Elissa Strome, executive director of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR. “We look forward to working with our partners at the three AI institutes in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal and researchers across the country to support today’s declaration.”

Trudeau and Macron announced that they will create a working group to make recommendations about how to form the panel and will invite other nations to join.


Examples of current Canadian leadership in understanding and developing ethical AI.

Canada’s leadership in AI is founded on its international strength in AI and social science research and engaged public and private sectors. Here are just a few examples of some of the activities underway across Canada to promote understanding and development of ethical AI.

  •  Led by several partners in Quebec, the Forum on the Socially Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, was held in Montreal in November 2017 and concluded with the unveiling of the preamble of a draft Montreal Declaration on the Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence. Several subsequent activities have taken place since including a series of workshops with stakeholders across Quebec and citizen consultations in public libraries.

  •  “Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Government of Canada” was written by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat as part of the Digital Disruption White Paper Series. It engages the broader community in identifying technical and ethical considerations with the use of AI by Canadian federal institutions.

  •  Through its Pan-Canadian AI Strategy National Program Activities, CIFAR is working with our partners at the three national AI Institutes and in industry, Fairness, Accountability and Transparency in AI is an emerging area of strategic focus for the National Program Activities. CIFAR is also supporting a series of Summer Schools that are focused on social implications for students from high school to graduate school and beyond, including:
  •   Through the AI & Society program, CIFAR has also launched a call for research workshops for diverse international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral teams to study the impacts of AI and is hosting a series of Policy Labs in provincial and federal capitals to engage public servants in workshops to explore the medium-term public policy implications of AI.


Pan-Canadian AI Strategy Executive Director Elissa Strome is in Ottawa and available for interview.

Media contact: Juanita Bawagan, CIFAR Writer & Media Relations Specialist,, 416-971-4884