Federal Government Addresses AI Hiring Concerns and Promotes Equality


  • Government vows to prevent AI bias in hiring, ensuring fairness and equality in federal departments.
  • Treasury Board President Anita Anand outlines guidelines for AI use, emphasizing compliance with laws.
  • Major tech overhaul planned for delivering benefits, focusing on citizen confidence and modernization.

In a recent year-end interview with CBC News, Treasury Board President Anita Anand outlined the federal government’s commitment to preventing discrimination in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven hiring processes. Anand acknowledged the growing concerns regarding the potential bias introduced by AI tools and emphasized the need for compliance with privacy laws and non-discriminatory hiring practices.

Addressing AI tools in federal hiring

Anand addressed the incorporation of AI tools in the hiring processes of some government departments, citing the Department of National Defence’s use of Knockri, an AI-driven skills assessment tool, in pre-recorded job interviews. The tool utilizes machine learning to analyze candidate responses, aiming to reduce bias and promote equity in recruitment. Anand stressed the importance of ensuring that AI applications comply with existing laws and uphold non-discriminatory principles.

Government guidelines and oversight

In September, Anand introduced guidelines for public servants using generative AI tools at work, emphasizing the government’s commitment to monitoring AI applications to prevent bias or discrimination. Despite these efforts, a recent incident involving an AI-generated picture representing an Inuit woman led to an apology from Global Affairs. Anand highlighted the availability of tools like the Algorithmic Impact Assessment (AIA) process to guide departments, emphasizing the importance of legal, policy, and ethical considerations when implementing AI.

Long-term regulations and framework

Anand acknowledged AI’s transformative nature and expressed a desire to address gaps in Canada’s regulations concerning the long-term use of AI. While exploring the use of AI-driven tools, she emphasized the importance of maintaining the option for Canadians to interact with live public servants, ensuring a balance between technological advancements and human contact. Anand also mentioned Bill C-27, a framework for AI use in federally regulated companies, indicating the government’s commitment to adopting guidelines applicable to the broader economy.

Overhauling aging technology for government benefits delivery

One of the significant projects on Anand’s agenda is the overhaul of the government’s aging technology used to deliver benefits such as Old Age Security (OAS), the Canada Pension Plan, and employment insurance (EI). The initiative aims to replace outdated systems, with the first transfer of 600,000 foreign OAS recipients completed in June. Anand outlined plans for the second phase, focusing on improving the delivery of OAS and EI payments in the coming year.

Anand emphasized the government’s commitment to making tangible progress in replacing 45-plus-year-old systems delivering essential benefits. Research suggests a direct correlation between citizen confidence in the government and the quality of services received. As the government plans to modernize its technology, Anand highlighted the significance of instilling confidence in citizens through efficient and up-to-date service delivery.

A forward-looking approach to AI and technology

Treasury Board President Anita Anand’s statements reflect the federal government’s proactive approach to address concerns related to AI applications, particularly in the hiring process. The commitment to guidelines, oversight, and long-term regulations demonstrates a dedication to ensuring fairness and non-discrimination in the evolving landscape of AI. As the government undertakes the modernization of technology for benefits delivery, Anand’s emphasis on citizen confidence reinforces the importance of striking a balance between technological advancements and the human touch in public services.

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Editah Patrick

Editah is a versatile fintech analyst with a deep understanding of blockchain domains. As much as technology fascinates her, she finds the intersection of both technology and finance mind-blowing. Her particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids her audience.

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