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Memorandum of Understanding regarding Cooperation in the field of Artificial Intelligence

Archived Backgrounder

Memorandum of Understanding regarding Cooperation in the field of Artificial Intelligence

Between The Government of Ontario and The Gouvernement du Québec

Office of the Premier

Whereas Ontario and Québec (collectively, the "Parties") entered into a memorandum of understanding, dated October 26, 2016 (the October 2016 MOU) to work together to become leaders in supporting 5G technologies through opportunities such as the Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation (ENCQOR) and the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN);

And whereas the October 2016 MOU has allowed the Parties to advance a 5G test-bed to create opportunities for Ontario and Québec researchers and firms to create and shape transformative and disruptive technologies, including those stemming from artificial intelligence (AI);

And whereas the Parties agree that supporting the growth of the digital ecosystem is expected to allow other transformative technologies to develop in both provinces;

And whereas their commitment to an open innovation system to accelerate the growth of information and communications technologies extends particularly to the field of AI, which the Parties expect, in the fullness of time, to have such broad applications as to have a socio-economic impact similar to the advent of the Internet;

And whereas Ontario and Québec are recognized leaders in AI research talent and deep learning, with world-renowned faculty, such as at the Université de Montréal, McGill University, Laval University, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, University of Toronto;

And whereas Ontario launched the Vector Institute to attract, train and retain AI experts in academia and industry; to conduct basic, applied and industry focused research; to provide resources and tools to start-ups; and to drive the adoption and commercialization of AI technologies, specifically focusing on deep learning and machine learning;

And whereas Québec has supported the formation of an AI cluster and of a Québec institute for AI centred around the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) and anchored by the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), in order to encourage the training and attraction of world-renowned experts, the availability of computing resources, advantageous conditions for industrial collaborations and creating of spin-offs, as well as the development of human resources;

And whereas these two institutions (Vector Institute and MILA), along with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding;

And whereas the Parties recognize that they will benefit from working together to make progress on issues that are integral to the success of AI in Canada, such as the growth of businesses and start-ups and the development of a highly skilled workforce;

And whereas the Parties will help people adapt to changes that will result from new technologies such as AI by increasing experiential learning opportunities, promoting lifelong learning and strengthening programs that help workers retrain, upgrade their skills and find high-quality new jobs,



The Parties will solidify their cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence to build on the strengths they have acquired. They are fostering expertise in AI that will keep Ontario, Québec and, more generally, Canada competitive among other jurisdictions not only in the expansion of fundamental knowledge but also in the development and application of these technologies across sectors. Both provinces are achieving this by bolstering ties between research and industry; and between technology companies and start-ups.


2.1    The Parties recognize that advancement in the field of artificial intelligence is founded on the training and attraction of highly skilled researchers, entrepreneurs and workers, and are cultivating conditions that will produce AI talent and skills.

2.2    The Parties recognize the importance of informing business leaders, decision-makers in all sectors and the population at large about the opportunities deriving from technologies incorporating AI, and the likelihood that these technologies will profoundly impact businesses, individuals and society.

2.3    The Parties recognize that the full realization of AI requires a strong focus on applied research, leading to the successful commercialization of innovations and creation of economic value, to the benefit of their residents.

2.4    The Parties recognize that addressing public concerns regarding privacy and security of AI is integral to consumer adoption of these technologies.


3.1    Ministers responsible for innovation will engage with their colleagues in the ministries overseeing advanced education, immigration, consumer protection and privacy, economic development, security and other sectors as applicable, to report back at the 2018 Ontario-Québec Joint Cabinet Meeting with a collaboration plan to maximize the Parties' collective benefits resulting from the AI transformation.

3.2    Specifically, the collaboration plan to be developed under the direction of the Ministers responsible for innovation will identify cooperation avenues and initiatives that:

3.2.1   Support the development of curriculum to reflect the evolving AI ecosystem and current retraining opportunities;

3.2.2   Study the labour needs of industry and postsecondary education to foster the growth of AI, and the role that immigration and mobility can play to respond to these needs;

3.2.3   Share best practices on how to support businesses, and particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in adopting AI. This includes applications in financial technology (fintech), manufacturing, ICT, retail, business services, life sciences, aerospace, clean technologies and the intersection of quantum technologies and AI;

3.2.4   Explore how they can best benefit from the emergence of technologies incorporating artificial intelligence to enhance service delivery in each province, including public administrations, with a view to enhancing the provinces' performance and improving services to citizens and businesses. This includes applications in healthcare, transportation, energy, climate change, regulatory oversight, and government services;

3.2.5   Share best practices on the support for commercialization of new technologies based on AI;

3.2.6   Engage in discussions with technical industry leaders regarding ethical concerns, regulatory opportunities, and societal impact associated with AI;

3.2.7   Assess risks related to the collection and analysis of personal information that often forms the basis of machine learning and interactions. This includes recommendations for protecting the privacy and security of personal information with respect to the consumer use of artificial intelligence in order to facilitate public trust and adoption of these technologies.


4.1    This memorandum of understanding (MOU) does not create any legally binding obligations on either Party.

4.2    This MOU shall remain in effect unless one Party notifies the other in writing of its desire to terminate it earlier. Such notification shall be given at least 180 days before the intended date of termination. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the term of this MOU may be extended by the prior written consent of both Parties hereto.

4.3    Any amendments to this MOU shall require the prior written consent of both Parties.

Signed in Québec City, this 22nd day of September, 2017, one in English and the other in French, both versions being regarded as equally authentic.