Canada has become a global leader in the development and practice of artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years. But with all the advantages that come with the development and use of AI systems, also come implications.
To ensure that AI and data are used ethically, transparently, and in a manner that protects individuals’ privacy rights, Canada has recently introduced the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA) – Bill C-27.
This comprehensive legislation provides a framework for the responsible development and use of AI and data in Canada, with far-reaching implications for businesses, researchers, and individuals alike.
But what exactly is the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA), and what does it mean for Canadians?
In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into this landmark legislation, exploring its key provisions, purpose, benefits, and challenges.
Whether you’re a business owner looking to navigate the complex world of AI and data, a researcher exploring the frontiers of machine learning, or simply an interested citizen wanting to know more about this legislation, this blog is for you.
What Is the Bill C-27?
Bill C-27, or the Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, was tabled by the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry on June 16, 2022.
It aims to update the federal private sector privacy regime and establish new laws for artificial intelligence.
If passed, Bill C-27 would be a significant step forward for Canada in regulating the use of AI and protecting individuals’ privacy rights:
The Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA)
One of the most important aspects of Bill C-27 is the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA).
This would be the first Canadian law regulating the use of AI systems, aiming to establish common requirements across the country for designing, developing, and deploying these systems.
Reforming Canadian Privacy Law
Bill C-27 proposes replacing the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) with the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), which would reform Canadian privacy law and provide stronger protections for individuals’ personal information.
CPPA would give individuals more control over how their information is collected, used, and disclosed.
Additionally, the bill establishes a tribunal specific to privacy and data protection, which would be responsible for hearing and resolving complaints related to these matters under the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act.
This Data Protection Tribunal Act would play a crucial role in enforcing privacy and data protection rights across Canada.
The Full Impact of Bill C-27
The full impact of Bill C-27 will only be known once the associated regulations are released. However, if passed, it would represent a significant shift in how Canada regulates AI and data privacy.
Introducing new laws and regulations will have far-reaching implications for businesses and individuals nationwide.
Compliance with these regulations will be critical for organizations that use AI systems, and it is vital to stay informed and aware of any changes that may affect them.
The Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA) – A Detailed Overview
The Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, or AIDA, is a proposed Canadian law that aims to regulate the use of AI systems.
If passed, it would establish national requirements for the design, development, use, and provision of the artificial intelligence system and prohibit certain conduct related to AI that could harm individuals or their interests.
AIDA is intended to ensure that AI systems are developed and used in a way that is consistent with Canadian values and principles of international human rights law. It would significantly impact businesses and organizations using AI systems in Canada.
Scope of Application
It is important to note that AIDA only regulates activities carried out in international or interprovincial trade and commerce, and it does not apply to government institutions.
On the other hand, Canada’s Directive on Automated Decision-Making imposes several requirements on the federal government’s use of automated decision-making technologies and on businesses that license or sell such technologies to the federal government.
The Applications of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) and data have recently become integral parts of our lives.
From personalized recommendations on social media to self-driving cars, artificial intelligence systems are transforming the way we live and work.
However, as these technologies become more advanced, concerns about their impact on privacy, security, and ethics have arisen.
But as these technologies become increasingly sophisticated, we must ask ourselves: how do we ensure they are used ethically and responsibly? That’s where Canada’s Artificial Intelligence and Data Act comes in.
This law outlines important obligations for individuals and organizations responsible for AI systems, particularly those that process data related to individuals.
The AIDA requires them to adhere to several measures to ensure accountability.
Like Any Other System, AI Also Has Limitations
The development of Artificial Intelligence systems has grown exponentially, offering endless possibilities and innovation potential.
However, with this incredible power comes limitations and potential drawbacks.
Limitation 1: Misuse of Personal Information
One of the key concerns regarding artificial intelligence systems is the potential for misuse of personal information.
Developing artificial intelligence systems requires vast amounts of data, and if this data is not properly protected or handled, it could result in serious privacy breaches.
The AIDA aims to address this concern by introducing new rules to strengthen Canadians’ trust in developing and deploying artificial intelligence systems.
Limitation 2: Biased Outcomes
AI systems can create biased outcomes based on prohibited grounds of discrimination, such as gender, sex, and race.
This limitation is significant because it can have far-reaching implications, particularly in employment, education, and healthcare.
The AIDA seeks to address this concern by prohibiting certain conduct related to artificial intelligence systems that could harm individuals or their interests, while ensuring that the regulations adhere to Canadian norms and values in line with international human rights laws.
Limitation 3: Limitations of Current AI Technology
Another limitation of artificial intelligence systems is that they are not infallible.
Artificial intelligence systems can produce incorrect or incomplete results and may struggle with complex or nuanced tasks humans can efficiently perform.
While artificial intelligence systems have made remarkable progress in recent years, there are still significant limitations to what they can do.
As such, it is important to approach the development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems with caution and recognize that certain tasks are better suited to human intelligence.
The Purpose of The AIDA
The AIDA, or the Artificial Intelligence Data Protection Act, seeks to regulate the use of artificial intelligence systems in Canada. The act has two primary purposes, which are outlined below.
Regulating International and Interprovincial Trade and Commerce in AI Systems
One of the key goals of the AIDA is to regulate international and interprovincial trade and commerce in AI systems.
This would be achieved by establishing common requirements for designing, developing, and using AI systems across Canada.
By doing so, the act would help to ensure that AI systems are developed and used in a way that is safe, ethical, and in line with Canadian norms and values.
Prohibiting Conduct That May Result in Harm to Individuals or Their Interests
Another important goal of the AIDA is to prohibit certain conduct concerning AI systems that may harm individuals or their interests.
The act defines “harm” broadly, encompassing physical or psychological harm to an individual, damage to an individual’s property, or economic loss to an individual.
By doing so, the act aims to protect individuals from the unintended consequences of AI systems, such as biased outcomes or the misuse of personal information.
To Which Entities Will the AIDA Apply?
- The AIDA applies to private sector organizations that regulate the design, development, and use of AI systems in international or interprovincial trade and commerce.
- It applies to individuals and entities involved in “regulated activities,” which involve processing or making available data related to human activities for designing, developing, or using an AI system.
- The AIDA imposes regulatory requirements on both AI systems in general and high-impact systems, which can cause harm to persons or their interests.
- The AIDA aims to ensure responsible AI use and avoid harm.
- Its scope is narrower than PIPEDA and applies only to interprovincial and international commerce.
- Federal government entities are exempt, as they must comply with the Directive on Automated Decision-Making to reduce risks to Canadians and federal institutions.
Requirements of the AIDA
The recently enacted Canadian law, the Artificial Intelligence Data Act (AIDA), outlines important obligations for individuals and organizations responsible for AI systems.
The AIDA requires those who design, develop, or make available for use AI systems to adhere to several measures to ensure accountability.
- They must establish measures to manage anonymized data, which is crucial for privacy protection and avoiding any serious risk.
- They must conduct an impact assessment to determine if the AI system is “high-impact,” a threshold that regulations will eventually define. Failing to conduct this assessment can pose a serious risk to the individuals and organizations that use the system.
- If an AI system is assessed as a “high impact system,” the responsible individuals or organizations must take additional steps to mitigate potential risks. Failing to mitigate these risks can seriously harm individuals, businesses, and society.
Finally, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry must be notified promptly if the system uses results or is likely to result in material harm.
This provision is critical for preventing any serious risk associated with using AI systems.
The Minister’s Authority
The minister under the AIDA has the authority to initiate or require the following:
- Data and documents about an AI system.
- An examination, either by the person in charge of the AI system or by a third-party auditor.
- The taking of action to resolve any issues mentioned in an audit report.
- Disclosing information regarding rules violations, except “secret business information,” is permitted to promote compliance.
- The appropriate sharing of data with other authorities and enforcers, such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the Privacy Commissioner.
- The minister should have reasonable grounds to suspect that an AI system offers a serious danger of imminent harm before it can continue operating.
Additionally, the minister is authorized to designate an AI and Data Commissioner to ensure compliance with the AIDA requirements.
Penalties and Offences
The AIDA outlines penalties and offences for businesses and individuals who fail to comply with the requirements.
The administrative monetary penalties regime is intended to promote compliance rather than punish. The exact penalties will be defined in the regulations.
Contravening any AIDA regulations, hindering an audit or investigation, or giving false or misleading information is illegal.
Companies or other legal entities that violate these laws may be fined up to $10 million or 3% of their worldwide sales, whereas private persons may only be subject to a discretionary fine.
Additional criminal offences can arise in situations involving personal information or the availability of an AI system.
Possessing or using unlawfully obtained personal information is prohibited at all AI development and operation stages.
Making an AI system available is also an offence if it causes serious harm, property damage, or economic loss without lawful excuse or intent to defraud.
The maximum penalty for these offences is a fine of $25 million or 5% of global revenues for businesses and a discretionary fine or imprisonment for up to five years less a day for individuals.
Reflections and Takeaways
In conclusion, the introduction of Bill C-27 marks an important step in regulating the artificial intelligence system in Canada.
With the proposed AI regulatory framework, businesses must consider how their current activities comply with the AIDA requirements, particularly for those using or providing “high impact” systems.
While some questions remain, such as defining key terms and the quantum of administrative penalties, we can expect more clarity as the bill progresses through Parliament and subsequent regulations.
It’s also worth noting that the AIDA may have extraterritorial application, making it even more critical for multinational companies to develop a coordinated global compliance program.
As the world continues to grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by AI, we must remain vigilant in ensuring that its development and deployment align with our values and aspirations as a society.