Public services 1, 2018

Responsible AI in the Canadian Government



Government of Canada


Bias, Accountability, Oversight, Ethical design, Transparency,


The white paper lays out 7 principles that will guide the Canadian Treasury Board’s policy on the use of AI in government. It forms part of the Canadian Government’s efforts to take global leadership on AI policy development and showcasing that strong ethical principles support positive outcomes. The principles are intended for the use of federal institutions looking to use AI for the delivery of public services, to help design policy and respond to risk, or to the internal services of government.

  1. “People should always be governed – and perceive to be governed – by people;”

  2. “AI systems deployed on behalf of government should be trained to reflect the Values and Ethics of the Public Sector as well as Canadian and international human rights obligations; they should be used to reinforce these values where possible;”

  3. “Organizations are accountable for the actions of AI systems, and should build systems that are auditable;”

  4. “Understanding the need to protect privacy and national security, AI systems should be deployed in the most transparent manner possible;”

  5. “Organizations should ensure that reliable contingencies are in place for when AI systems fail, or to provide services to those unable to access these systems;”

  6. “AI systems should be developed in a diverse team that includes individuals capable of assessing the ethical and socioeconomic implications of the system;“

  7. “AI systems should be deployed in a manner that minimizes negative impact to employees where possible, and should, where feasible, be created alongside the employees that will work with them.”

The report also recommends institutions to invest in their data science and business intelligence capacity, which is the foundation of using AI tools. Chief Data Officers should manage investments in building up data science capacity and the deployment of AI tools should come with a multidisciplinary team comprised of social scientists, ethicists, data scientists, change management professionals and user experience designers.
The paper also proposes the establishment of some oversight body, such as an ad-hoc Automation Advisory Board, to provide guidance to Federal institutions on the ethical design and deployment of AI-driven tools.

AI Governance

This database is an information resource about global governance activities related to artificial intelligence. It is designed as a tool to help researchers, innovators, and policymakers better understand how AI governance is developing around the world.

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