Ontario Proposes New Laws to Boost Cybersecurity and Ethical AI Use in Public Sector

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TORONTO – POLITICS – Today, the Ontario government announced a bold step forward with proposed legislation aimed at enhancing cybersecurity and setting the stage for ethical artificial intelligence (AI) practices in public services.

This move is part of Ontario’s broader strategy to protect critical services like healthcare and education from digital threats.

Safeguarding Vital Public Services

“The new legislation will equip us with the tools we need to fend off cyber threats more effectively and ensure our public services can keep running smoothly,” stated Todd McCarthy, Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery. The proposed act, titled “Strengthening Cyber Security and Building Trust in the Public Sector Act, 2024,” is designed to bolster the resilience of these essential services, making them more secure and reliable for all Ontarians.

Enhanced Protection for Children’s Data

A significant focus of the legislation is the protection of children’s personal information. “Our children’s privacy is paramount, and with this legislation, we are taking strong steps to shield their data from being misused,” McCarthy explained. The new rules aim to curb the unauthorized sharing or selling of student data, ensuring that children are not targeted by invasive marketing tactics while at school.

Establishing Ethical Standards for AI

Ontario is also paving the way for responsible AI use in the public sector. “We are committed to leading by example in the ethical application of AI technologies,” McCarthy noted. This includes increasing the powers of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) to tackle privacy breaches and requiring organizations to complete thorough privacy impact assessments before deploying new technologies.

Public Input Welcomed

The government is actively seeking feedback from the public on this draft bill. Ontarians have until June 11, 2024, to express their views through the Ontario Regulatory Registry. “We value the input of our community and are dedicated to working together to refine these policies,” said McCarthy. This collaborative approach aims to ensure that the legislation reflects the needs and concerns of Ontarians.

Quick Facts:

  • Ontario is improving digital healthcare services to offer better care while protecting patient data.
  • The province is consulting with AI experts and has invested $27 million in the Vector Institute to enhance local AI capabilities and applications.
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