Canada announces $2.4 billion for AI-related investments

Key Points:

  • The bulk of the new investment ($2 billion) will be used to build and provide access to computing capabilities and technological infrastructure for AI researchers, start-ups, and scale-ups.
  • Start-ups will receive support in bringing new technologies to the market, particularly in agriculture, clean technology, healthcare, and manufacturing industries, with $200 million in funding through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.
  • The NRC IRAP AI Assist Program will receive a $100 million boost to help small and medium-sized businesses scale up and enhance productivity.


Canada is ramping up its focus on artificial intelligence with a significant $2.4 billion investment aimed at driving job growth and enhancing productivity. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the details of this substantial funding in a recent government press release, emphasizing the global importance of AI advancement.


Having established a national AI strategy back in 2017 with substantial funding of over $443 million in 2022, Canada is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the AI field. Prime Minister Trudeau underscored the transformative potential of AI for the economy and highlighted the Canadian advantage that the country aims to leverage with these investments.


The proposed allocation of funds in Budget 2024 is set to unlock the full capabilities of AI to create employment opportunities for Canadians, particularly the younger demographic, and to elevate productivity while fostering economic growth. This strategic investment is perceived as a critical step towards securing a prosperous future for the workforce across various industries and generations.


The bulk of the $2.4 billion investment will primarily focus on building and enhancing computing capabilities and technological infrastructures to support AI researchers, start-ups, and scale-ups. Start-ups operating in sectors like agriculture, clean technology, healthcare, and manufacturing will receive significant backing to facilitate the introduction of innovative AI technologies into the market. Canada’s Regional Development Agencies will play a pivotal role, offering $200 million in support to nurture these ventures.


Additionally, the NRC IRAP AI Assist Program will receive a boost of $100 million to aid small and medium-sized businesses in scaling up and enhancing operational efficiency through AI integration. Establishing the Canadian AI Safety Institute is also a key part of the plan, with $50 million earmarked for the safe development and deployment of AI technologies.


Recognizing the potential impact of AI on the workforce, the investment package allocates $50 million to the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program, aimed at providing additional skill training to workers in industries susceptible to AI-related disruptions. Furthermore, $5.1 million will be channeled towards reinforcing the enforcement of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, designed to govern AI innovations and safeguard individuals from potential risks associated with the technology.


As Canada positions itself at the forefront of the artificial intelligence landscape, these significant investments underscore the country’s commitment to fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and equipping its workforce with the tools needed to thrive in the evolving digital era. Further details on additional investments are expected to be unveiled during the upcoming tabling of the 2024 Budget in the House of Commons on April 16.



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