The intersection of science and technology will be critical to helping Canada achieve a cleaner future by providing new ways to address pressing environmental challenges.

Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, has announced a collaboration with Microsoft Canada to apply digital solutions to support Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) sustainable development and climate action research.

“Climate change is real. Combatting climate change requires innovation and collaboration,” said O’Regan. “Microsoft’s digital technologies will support workers and the sustainable development of our natural resources. This is how we get to net zero.”

NRCan will collaborate with Microsoft Canada to share expertise and use cloud, data, and artificial intelligence (AI) services to develop a platform for national and global science cooperation.

This initiative is a first for NRCan, which, together with Microsoft Canada and Microsoft AI for Earth partners, offers a model for future public and private technology sector collaboration to provide technology, resources and expertise to those working to solve humanitarian issues and create a more sustainable and accessible world.

NRCan has a strong foundation of integrating advanced analytics in its programs. Advancements in AI and machine learning can bring wide-ranging improvements to science, research, production, resource extraction and other activities central to the department’s mandate. Microsoft will also offer AI Business School workshops to NRCan for department-wide skill development in the strategy, governance, operations and responsible use of AI.

NRCan’s recently launched Digital Accelerator is an initiative to grow the AI capacity of scientists and researchers, as well as explore the possibilities for advanced digital solutions in the natural resource sectors — driving sustainable growth and competitiveness through digital innovation. A complete list of current AI projects can be found on the Digital Accelerator website.

Building on NRCan’s existing work, examples of data collaboration projects will include:

    • Energy Star Detective, developing a machine learning tool to identify online misuse, non-compliance and misrepresentation of the ENERGY STAR® name and mark.
    • Electric Vehicle Grid Readiness, using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to identify patterns in electric vehicle charging data to provide insights for electric utilities on factors affecting electricity grid utilization.
    • Mining Risk Mitigation, producing an interactive map of mining locations across Canada with layers to represent different structures found on mine sites.

“Deploying technology to support climate action is one of our greatest priorities,” said Lisa Carroll, public sector lead at Microsoft Canada. “By placing solutions like Microsoft Azure AI at the core of its digital strategy, NRCan is creating a more sustainable and prosperous future for Canadians.”

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