How are Canadian businesses positioning themselves when it comes to AI integration?

How are Canadian businesses positioning themselves when it comes to AI integration?

In fact, Canada has the third largest concentration of AI experts in the world[1]. In 2021, the federal government announced investments of $443.8 million over 10 years to "renew the national AI strategy,"[2] the majority of which goes to fundamental research. This is not to mention the contribution of Scale AI, the artificial intelligence supercluster selected by the Canadian government in 2018 to "accelerate the integration of AI across all industries and strengthen Canada's position on the global stage."

Despite this, Canada lags in AI adoption. At least 71%[3] of Canadian companies have yet to begin their AI adoption and integration journey, while early adopters are struggling to maximize the potential of their projects.

Elsewhere in the world, the mindset is quite different. Nearly two-thirds of multinationals surveyed by Deloitte in 2019[4] believe AI integration is critical to their future and are already using it to stay ahead of competitors and empower their workforce.

If Canadian companies are slow to begin their journey with AI, the gap in the market may be difficult to catch up. Indeed, the process of integrating AI into an enterprise takes time, as applications often need to be customized and part of a continuous improvement approach.

What's standing in the way of AI adoption for Canadian businesses?

In Canada, the limited business and consumer demand for AI is largely due to a lack of understanding and confidence in technologies.

Frequently cited reasons[5] include:

  • Difficulty perceiving the value AI brings to the business

  • Lack of time and financial resources

  • Lack of employees with the required skills

  • Lack of support from the executive team

  • Lack of understanding of potential applications in the industry

  • Concerns about ethical and social implications.


AI opportunities for Canadian companies

The majority of companies adopting AI[6] believe that it will have a major impact on their industry over the next five to ten years and that Canada has a significant opportunity to become a world leader in this field.

The country is currently experiencing a major increase in investment from private and public sources for AI research and development, and Montreal is considered a hub of AI innovation and expertise. All this suggests a strong potential for development, prosperity and job creation in the years to come.

What opportunities for AI adoption and integration?

In a reflection paper published in 2019, the Quebec government's Commission de l'éthique en science et en technologie addressed 4 aspects regarding the potential effects of AI on the workplace. Here is a brief overview of the issues and opportunities that companies here should consider.

Job transformation and new skills

Several hypotheses have been put out concerning the impact of AI on the employment numbers. While some researchers predict a loss of jobs due to automation[7], others believe that the transformation of job categories will eventually change the skills required and promote closer collaboration between machines and workers.

The hypothesis that seems to have the greatest consensus at the moment is based on a more optimistic vision, founded on the historical data of previous industrial revolutions. It argues that the labor market will adjust to the integration of AI and will create as many jobs as it eliminates.

Human resource management and work organization

Workforce management presents many opportunities for AI adoption. These include the possibility of freeing managers from certain tasks or making their work easier, such as screening candidates or taking over classification tests.

The predictive approach to behaviors, a rapidly growing field of AI, allows the recognition of relationships and trends in order to "predict" certain behaviors. This can be useful in applications such as candidate search and work organization.

Collaboration between humans and machines

The deployment of artificial intelligence in the business world will most likely lead to increasingly close collaboration between human workers and machines. Computer-assisted translation is an example of this type of collaboration already underway.

In other contexts, AI can be involved in task organization. The Uber platform, for example, uses an algorithm to assign drivers to service calls.


A bright future

Many agree that AI is the technological path that Canada must take to ensure its growth and improve its productivity. Many countries are currently building the ecosystems and infrastructure necessary to become leaders in the field.

There are many opportunities for AI adoption and integration that could help your business find its place in this new paradigm.

Would you like to find out how AI could be integrated into your business or what processes it could simplify and automate? Contact us to discuss!


DELOITTE. Canada's AI imperative - Start, scale, succeed, 2019, 32 p.

COMMISSION DE L'ÉTHIQUE EN SCIENCE ET EN TECHNOLOGIE. Les effets de l'intelligence artificielle sur le monde du travail : Document de réflexion, 2019, 54 p.

FREY. C.B. et OSBORNE M. A. The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization? Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol 114, issue C. pp. 254-280.

OUIMETTE, Marc-Étienne. Canada's next industrial AI strategy needs to address adoption, dans Policy Options, [En ligne], 21 juin 2022. [].

[1] Deloitte. Canada's AI imperative : Start, Scale, Succeed.

[2] Ouimette, Marc-Étienne. « Canada's next industrial AI strategy needs to address adoption », dans Policy Options, [En ligne], 21 juin 2022. [].

[3] Deloitte. Canada's AI imperative : Start, Scale, Succeed.

[4] Deloitte. Canada's AI imperative : Start, Scale, Succeed.

[5] Idem.

[6] Deloitte. Canada's AI imperative : Start, Scale, Succeed.

[7] Frey et Osborne (2017).

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