Canadian AI Opinion
Sep 23, 2019 ●
#AINorth: Your Guide to All Things AI at Elevate

Be sure to follow #AINorth for updates all week long

Explore all things AI at this year’s Elevate conference!

Be sure to follow #AINorth for updates all week long!

This week Toronto is hosting Elevate, one of Canada’s leading tech and innovation festivals featuring world-class speakers, interactive experiences, and business networking opportunities. Canada’s strengths in AI will in the limelight all week, and will be front-and-centre during Elevate AI on Wednesday, September 25th at the MaRS Discovery District, Elevate’s HQ. 

Check out the full schedule here.

AI has been the subject of conversation at Elevate since the conference launched in Toronto two years ago, and for good reason.

In 2017, the Government of Canada appointed CIFAR to develop and lead the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy and for two years in a row, Toronto was ranked among the top 5 tech talent markets in North America by CBRE, noting that jobs requiring specific skills such as machine learning remain in high demand. 

Earlier this year, Canada shined brightly when it was announced that Canadian-based AI research pioneers Drs Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio received the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of computer science, for their foundational research in deep learning and neural networks. New York-based co-recipient, Dr. Yann LeCun completed his Postdoctoral work under Geoffrey Hinton at the University of Toronto and is now Chief AI Scientist for Facebook AI Research. 

Emerging around these pillars is a vibrant community of new AI companies, as evidenced by recent announcements such as the launch of Radical Ventures, a $350-million AI-focused venture fund launched in Toronto. Daisy Intelligence, winner of last year’s ElevateR pitch competition, also made headlines last week when it raised $10 million in Series A financing. In the lead up to this year’s Elevate, companies had the opportunity to attend a Startup Bootcamp Program where they received advice on building an investor pitch, asked questions of venture capital experts, and participated in one-on-one lightning sessions with business advisors. 

As companies and institutions realize the transformative potential of AI, they are also tuning in to and leading dialogues about responsible AI. Just last week, TD Bank released a report on Responsible AI in Financial Services and will discuss its findings during the Responsible AI panel on September 25th. 

Joining the panel will be Dr. Elissa Strome, AVP research and executive director of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, CIFAR, who says, “If we want AI to have positive social impact for humanity, we need a diversity of perspectives in how it is being developed. The principles of equity, diversity and inclusion are critical to ensuring that AI is developed in a way that is fair and beneficial. Canada is a leader in advancing training, research and policy innovation towards socially responsible AI.”

This year’s lineup promises to be an exciting one, investigating the commercialization and responsible use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning right now. 

Here is a list of where you can explore AI at this year’s conference! 


Elevate AI
Wednesday Sep 25
Auditorium, MaRS Discovery District


  • 10:15am Brendan Frey (Founder & CEO, Deep Genomics and CIFAR fellow) 

  • 10:35am Ed Clark (Former CEO, TD Bank Group and Chair of the Vector Institute) will be discussing investing in Canadian Innovation 

  • 10:50am Paige Dickie (Senior Manager, AI & Digital Strategy, Vector Institute) fireside chat with Ed Clark on how Canada can compete on the global stage 

  • 1:30pm Raquel Urtasun (Chief Scientist, Uber ATG and CIFAR fellow) 

  • 2:20pm The Risks and Rewards of Responsible AI Panel with Marzyeh Ghassemi (Faculty at Vector and Canada CIFAR AI Chair), Elissa Strome (CIFAR), Tomi Poutanen (Chief AI Officer at TD) and Jennifer Hollett (Digital Strategist)

  • 2:50pm Helen Kontozopoulos (Co-founder of ODAIA) 

  • 3:05pm Mapping AI Commercialization with Christian Weedbrook of Xanadu, Jessica Yip of A&K Robotics, Candice Faktor of Factory Ventures and JF Gagné of Element AI

  • 4:30pm Why Your AI Company Will Fail Without the Right IP Plan with Carole Piovesan of INQ Data Law and Natalie Raffoul of Brion Raffoul


ElevateR Pitch Semi-Finals
Wednesday Sep 25, 11:00am-1:00pm
Rogers Stage

Delivered with Community Partner NEXT Canada, the ElevateR Pitch Competition will see 32 of Canada’s top technology startups compete in front of world-class investors and celebrity judges.


Canada House
Monday Sep 23 - Wednesday Sep 25
Atrium, MaRS Discovery District

Entrepreneurs and startups seeking to learn about government programs and services to help them grow and scale in Canada can head to Canada House. Canada House will be open all week long from 9am to 4pm.

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