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Mandating algorithmic impact assessments

The Institute for the Future of Work (the Institute) has worked with the Canadian Government to help identify particular challenges in applying the 2021 flagship Canadian Directive on Automated Decision Making. In particular, the Institute's research and reports have highlighted gaps in its application, and encouraged review to ensure that the impacts of automated decision-making on work and workers are always considered.

The Institute is delighted to learn that a review of the Directive is now underway.

“The Canadian Directive on Automated Decision-Making currently focuses on protecting federal institutions and their clients when algorithms are used to inform decisions for service delivery. I recognize a gap in offering similar protection to the workers in the federal government. As we look to update the Directive to address this policy gap, the IFOW reports are proving to be a rich source of relevant information and recommendations." Benoit Deshaies, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Government of Canada, November 2021

In turn, the UK Government is considering building on the Canadian model, which mandates Algorithmic Impact Assessments (AIAs) for the public sector, and the NHS in England has announced that it will pilot AIAs in healthcare.

The Institute has made the case that AIAs should be developed to be a systematic framework for accountability in both public and private spheres. Our policy briefing and toolkit, including draft legislation, sets out how to make this happen.

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