Trudeau announces $2.4B federal investment in AI, tech sector

The federal government will be investing $2.4 billion to accelerate Canada’s artificial intelligence (AI) sector, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday.

The investment will be divided between a number of measures meant to advance job growth in the AI and tech industry and boost businesses’ productivity.

“This announcement is a major investment in our future, in the future of workers, in making sure that every industry, and every generation, has the tools to succeed and prosper in the economy of tomorrow,” Trudeau said in a press release Sunday.

Majority of the funds, $2 billion, will go toward increasing access to computing and technological infrastructure. Another $200 million is being invested into AI start-ups to accelerate the technology in “critical sectors” such as health care, agriculture and manufacturing, the release says.

Additional funds will be put toward helping small and medium-sized businesses incorporate AI, with another $50 million being committed to help train workers whose jobs may be disrupted by the technology.

“AI will help us build a fairer future with more jobs, more growth and even more homes. That’s what we’re focused on. Fairness for every generation,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Montreal Sunday.The announcement comes after a recent Leger poll found that AI use is rising in Canada despite “deep-rooted fears.”

The poll, released in February, found 30 per cent of Canadians use AI tools, which is up about 25 per cent from over a year ago.

Trudeau noted Sunday that innovation and technology are some of the highest paying industries in the country. Demand for recruiting Canadians with AI skills has also skyrocketed in the past year, as the global race to take advantage of the technology deepens.

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