Canada’s AI and Data Act Revamp Seeks to Define AI System Duties

by | Nov 22, 2023

The Canadian government recently suggested changes to the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA) to regulate the use of AI systems. This aims to align Canada with global standards, clarify the responsibilities of AI systems, and strengthen the role of the proposed AI and Data Commissioner.

To inform all stakeholders, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (ISED) outlined the proposed changes in a letter to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology. These changes, part of Bill C-27 introduced in June 2022, aim to harmonize regulations with the EU AI Act and other advanced economies, positioning Canada as a leader in responsible AI governance.

One main goal of the amendments is to address concerns about generative general-purpose AI systems, like ChatGPT, which can autonomously create content. While these systems have potential, there are risks of spreading harmful or misleading information. The changes aim to define the responsibilities and obligations of such systems, ensuring responsible use and reducing risks.

Additionally, the changes seek to establish different classes of AI systems, distinguishing high-impact systems from others. This classification allows for tailored regulations based on each system’s impact, with higher-impact systems facing stricter oversight and rules. This approach recognizes that not all AI systems present the same risks and enables more precise regulation.

To enforce these regulations effectively, the role of the proposed AI and Data Commissioner would be strengthened. The commissioner would monitor compliance with AI rules and ensure all actors in the AI value chain fulfill their obligations. Furthermore, the commissioner would investigate any potential breaches or misuse of AI systems. Empowering the commissioner is crucial to establishing a strong regulatory framework that can adapt to the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

Canada’s decision to align with the EU AI Act and other advanced economies underscores the importance of international cooperation in AI regulation. This alignment promotes sharing best practices, creates a fair environment for AI developers and users across jurisdictions, and encourages international collaboration in responsible AI development.

The proposed changes to the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act in Canada aim to bring clarity and accountability to the use of AI systems. By defining obligations, establishing system classifications, and strengthening the role of the AI and Data Commissioner, these changes address the challenges posed by AI technology and leverage its potential for societal improvement.

As AI advances, it’s crucial for countries to adapt their regulations to keep up with technological developments. Canada’s proactive approach to responsible AI governance serves as a model for other nations. By setting clear guidelines and holding actors in the AI value chain responsible, these changes aim to foster trust, innovation, and ethical use of AI systems.

With these proposed changes, Canada is making significant progress toward establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI. By clarifying obligations and strengthening oversight, the country aims to strike a balance between innovation and accountability. These changes demonstrate Canada’s commitment to responsible AI governance and its determination to shape the future of AI for the benefit of all.