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AI Ecosystem in Ontario on a strong growth trajectory

Significant year-over-year increases in AI jobs, new investments, and new businesses

TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Vector Institute released its third annual Ontario AI Snapshot, produced in partnership with Deloitte. The report suggests that the AI sector has proved resilient while navigating a series of complex social, political, and economic challenges throughout much of the last year (April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022). Moreover, the Ontario AI ecosystem has continued to attract significant investments, create jobs, and support economic growth.

The report specifically indicates that:

  • Over 22,000 AI jobs were created in Ontario in the last year—a 210% increase from the previous year [nearly a third of those AI jobs paid more than $85,000 and was held by a graduate from an AI program]

  • Almost 60,000 AI jobs were retained during the same period last year—a 334% increase from the previous year.

  • 56% of C-suite executives and senior leaders from Ontario surveyed for the ecosystem report say their companies have commercialized AI products/services or use AI to sell core products or services; 51% of these executives and senior leaders also say that AI was strategically important to achieving their business objectives.

  • An estimated $2.86 billion in venture capital investment flowed into Ontario’s AI ecosystem last year—a 206% increase over last year’s $936 million. As well, 273 unique corporate investors made direct investments into Ontario-based AI companies—a 29% increase over last year. 50 companies relocated their offices or operations into Ontario’s AI ecosystem last year, compared to 13 in the previous year.

“When we published our first Ontario ecosystem snapshot in January 2021, we believed that the province was a global hotbed of AI research and talent but lacked the data to back it up. Now in its third year, our annual snapshot demonstrates a steady year-over-year progression in key metrics, giving proof to our assumption: Ontario is a world-leading AI hub. Rather than resting on our laurels, it is critical that we harness this momentum and open the door to the next phase of Canada’s AI journey: the commercialization of AI-powered products and services and the ability to compete both in and outside of the country,” said Garth Gibson, President and CEO, Vector Institute.

“This report outlines why all Ontarians should be optimistic about the future of our province’s AI economy, and how surging interest in AI is driving Canada to solidify its position as a world leader in this sector. With more than 22,000 jobs created—nearly a third of those paying more than $85,000 annually—AI is sparking new economic opportunities and having a wider positive impact on the lives of all Canadians. And this ecosystem is primed for growth, with more than $2.86 billion in VC investment into Ontario’s AI ecosystem. As our country and the world at large face a moment of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, our AI economy offers a strong foundation for stability, resilience, and opportunity for all to thrive and do better. Building on the current momentum and our deep relationships with stakeholders and public institutions, it’s clear that Ontario is on strong footing to be best-in-class,” said Anthony Viel, Managing Partner and Chief Executive, Deloitte Canada.

Covering the period from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the Ontario AI Snapshot tracks 10 metrics, which include AI job creation and retention, investment, application, and commercialization. These metrics serve as benchmarks for measuring the collective progress of governments, businesses, and institutions in further strengthening Ontario’s AI ecosystem. Further data and analysis on the growth of the Ontario AI ecosystem, including R&D investment and talent development, is included in the report.

About the Vector Institute

Launched in 2017, the Vector Institute works with industry, institutions, start-ups, and governments to build AI talent and drive research excellence in AI to develop and sustain AI- based innovation to foster economic growth and improve the lives of Canadians.

Vector’s Three-Year Strategy aims to advance AI research, increase adoption in industry and health through programs for talent, commercialization, and application, and lead Canada towards the responsible use of AI. Programs for industry, led by top AI practitioners, offer foundations for applications in products and processes, company-specific guidance, training for professionals, and connections to workforce-ready talent.

Vector is funded by the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada through the Pan- Canadian AI Strategy, and leading industry sponsors from across multiple sectors of Canadian industry.

For more information please contact:

Orli Namian, Vector Institute

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