Public Awareness Working Group – Member biographies

Marc-Antoine Dilhac

Co-Chair of the Public Awareness Working Group
Canada CIFAR AI Chair (Governance and Ethics of AI), and Associate Professor, Université de Montréal

Marc-Antoine Dilhac (Ph.D. from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Montreal. After holding the Canada Research Chair in Public Ethics and Political Theory (2014-2019), he was granted a Canada CIFAR AI Chair (Ethics and Governance of AI). Since 2019, he is Director of Algora Lab (University of Montreal) at Mila and co-responsible for Deliberation of the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI.

In 2017, he initiated the Montreal Declaration for a responsible development of AI, for which he led the scientific committee. Then, in 2020, he conducted on behalf of UNESCO an international deliberation process on the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI. In 2021, he collaborated with the Ad-hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) of the Council of Europe, supervising and analyzing the European consultation for the establishment of a legal instrument regulating the use of AI. He serves as an expert in several international organizations such as the OECD and with the Global Partnership on AI's Responsible AI Working Group.

His work covers a wide range of topics related to contemporary democracy and theories of social justice, as well as the ethical issues raised by the development of new technologies, especially AI. His research now focuses on the governance of algorithms and digital technologies and how they change public relations and political structures.

Elissa Strome

Co-Chair of the Public Awareness Working Group (November 2021)
Executive Director of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, CIFAR

Elissa Strome is the Executive Director of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR.  She works with leaders at Canada's three national AI Institutes in Edmonton (Amii), Montreal (Mila), and Toronto (Vector Institute) and across the country to advance Canada's leadership in AI research, innovation, policy, and training.  She is a champion for Canada's position in AI internationally.  Elissa completed her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia.  Following a post-doc at Lund University, in Sweden, she decided to pursue a career in research strategy, policy and leadership.  From 2008 – 2017 she held senior leadership positions at University of Toronto's Office of the Vice-President, Research, and Innovation, advancing major institutional strategic research priorities, including establishing and leading the SOSCIP research consortium.  

Kate Arthur

Founder and CEO, Kids Code Jeunesse 

Kate Arthur is the founder and CEO of Kids Code Jeunesse (KCJ), a national charity that introduces computational thinking, coding, artificial intelligence & ethics to communities across Canada. KCJ's #kids2030 initiative will educate 1,000,000 kids and 50,000 educators on artificial intelligence, ethics, and on using technology to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Global Goals by 2030.

Kate was raised and educated in the U.K., Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Canada, and has witnessed the powers of an educated country and an uneducated one. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), and is currently completing her eMBA at McGill and HEC universities (Montreal, Canada).

Kate actively speaks at international conferences and contributes to policy discussions to make sure youth are included in discussions and decisions on AI. She is the recipient of many leadership awards, including Visa Entrepreneur / Innovation Leader of the Year Award (Canadian Fintech & AI Awards, 2019), Empowerment Leader of the Year Award, (Women in Communication and Technology, 2020).

Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia

Senior Director — Digital Economy, Technology & Innovation, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, B.A., M.A., is a multilingual, award-winning innovator, entrepreneur, and technology business executive with over 20 years in the private, public, non-profit, and academic sectors. Ulrike is presently the Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology and Innovation at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, where she leads federal policy files on Digital Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and Health Innovation, as well as Intellectual Property, Privacy and Data Protection, and Agile Regulations.

Spanning five geographic regions, Ulrike has worked in executive leadership roles at the headquarters of prominent technology MNCs, SMEs & startups including Intel, HP (Compaq), RAD Data Communications, Madge Networks, McAfee, Commtouch Software, CarteNav, Thorasys, and Seaside Wireless. Ulrike was also a lecturer at Mount Saint Vincent University and led ocean tech and tidal research projects, rural broadband initiatives, CETA consultations, global priority markets and international commerce/trade initiatives while working for the Provincial Government, in addition to successfully leading a provincial technology non-profit/industry association, Digital Nova Scotia, for over seven years.

Her diverse sector expertise in the ICT/digital, med-tech/life sciences, ocean tech, and aerospace and defence industries, has provided her with first-hand experience in micro and macro cross-sectoral facets of the science and technology sectors. Ulrike was recognized with regional and national awards and features, including: WXN Top 100 in Canada Hall of Fame, RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant, Atlantic Business Magazine Top 50 CEO, WCT Top 15 Leadership Excellence in Canada: Innovator; Progress Women of Excellence: Innovator/Entrepreneur, and was highlighted as one of Canada's Top 40 Change-Makers by Canadian Living Magazine.

Ulrike is married with a son and daughter and moved to Canada from Israel — often referenced as the Start-up Nation — in 2002. Originally from Germany, Ulrike has called Canada her home ever since.

Ashley Casovan

Executive Director, AI Global

Ashley is an engaged, innovative, and action-oriented member of the civil society community. She has dedicated the majority of her career to the public sector where she focused her efforts developing and advancing workable governance and solutions for data, technology, and open source tools at the Government of Canada and City of Edmonton. Her work has led to real change in government and beyond. Recently joining the non-profit sector as the Executive Director of AI Global, Ashley continues to advocate for, and work on solutions that support the responsible adoption of Artificial Intelligence. In this capacity, she has led the development of a robust and community- driven assessment to ensure trustworthy AI, the Responsible AI Trust Index. Recognizing the expansive and important role AI plays, and will continue to play in society, Ashley continues to work at the intersection of government, industry, academia, and civil society to bring all of the relevant voices and research together to ultimately build out good governance mechanisms that support the advancement of innovation, while balancing the protection of the public.

Ashley was formerly the Director of Data and Digital for the Government of Canada where she led the development of the Directive on Automated Decision Making Systems, Algorithmic Impact Assessment, and pre-qualified AI Vendor List. She continues to stay involved in government and standards organizations.

Mariloue Daudier

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, IVADO

Mariloue holds a Bachelor in Social Work from McGill University and a Master in Social Innovation Management from HEC Montréal. Her working experience led her to specialize in diversity management, participative leadership and inclusive processes. She is currently an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Advisor at the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO). Her role includes managing projects aiming at attracting and retaining a more diversified workforce in digital intelligence, enhancing EDI institutional practices and creating new knowledge. She started her career in management as Manager of Francization-Collective activities and Facilitator at Carrefour le Moutier where she implemented a pairing project that continues to support the sociolinguistic integration of new comers until now. Afterwards, she became the Coordinator of the Regroupement des organismes en francisation du Québec. Her role included mobilization and lobbying for 60 organizations offering French courses to immigrants all over Quebec at the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion. Then, she held the position of Project Coordinator-Enable Montreal, a design challenge that invited multidisciplinary teams (students, engineers, activists, organizations, etc.) to co-create solutions to make the city of Montreal more accessible and inclusive for people living with physical disabilities. Before working for IVADO, she worked as a Training Project Manager at the Comité sectoriel de main-d'oeuvre économie sociale action communautaire. In this role, she coordinated multiple projects simultaneously, including trainings in salary equity, knowledge transfer, HR marketing, psychological harassment and collective entrepreneurship for youth.

Sarah Doyle

Director of Policy and Research, Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Sarah Doyle is the Director of Policy and Research at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. She leads the development of the Institute's research agenda, which has included a focus on inclusive innovation and the implications of technological change for Canada's economy and policy landscape. Prior to joining the Brookfield Institute, Sarah led policy and impact investing initiatives at the MaRS Discovery District and worked in Canada's Privy Council Office, where she developed advice for the Prime Minister on a range of policy issues. Sarah serves on the board of The Neighbourhood Group and is an alum of the Action Canada Fellowship. She holds a Master of Science in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar.

Jennifer LaPlante

Executive Director, DeepSense

Jennifer LaPlante is the Executive Director of DeepSense, an organization that supports collaborative projects between businesses in the ocean economy and academic researchers to drive growth through Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the better use of data. She holds an MBA and is currently working towards an MSc in Computing and Data Analytics. She is also a co-organizer of the Halifax Chapter of Women in Machine Learning and Data Science (WiMLDS), a global organization that aims to support and promote women and gender minorities who are practicing, studying or are interested in the fields of machine learning and data science.

Steve Lowry

Executive Director, AInBC

Steve Lowry is a serial entrepreneur and media disrupter. With a background as a lawyer and an investment banker, Steve set out to change how media was consumed, co-founding Play Taxi Media and bringing digital screens to taxicabs across Canada. He founded the world's first all-media ad exchange, including traditional and digital media. Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts from UBC, a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the Sauder School of Business. Currently he heads BC's industry body for artificial intelligence, AInBC, and is working with companies, academia and government to secure BC as a global hub for AI by 2022.

Darcy McLane

Executive Director, SaskInteractive

Darcy L McLane is a senior executive and project professional with accomplishments and achievements in technology, engineering and virtual and augmented reality. Darcy works with clients helping them transform and collaborate in the interactive digital media sector. He has worked with both clients in the Public and Private sector and provincial government ministries and has worked with companies in communications, technology, engineering, agri-business, energy and resources, financial, insurance, and health. He is also a member of the Pan-Canadian Interactive Alliance (CIAIC) and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC). Darcy's academia is from the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), the Canadian Institute of Management and Edwards School of Business (University of Saskatchewan). Mr. McLane holds a prestigious Chartered Project Management Professional designation among other designations in the project management field.

Spencer Murray

Director of Communications and Public Relations, Amii

Spencer Murray is the Director of Communications and Public Relations at Amii, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, one of Canada's centres of AI excellence in the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. He is passionate about science communication and the role technology can play in improving the lives of those around us. In his role at Amii, he leads strategies for communicating scientific excellence and thought leadership while ensuring that research advances are able to be understood by a wide range of audiences. He has played an instrumental role in creating and launching the Amii brand and for communicating landmark advancements such as DeepStack, the world's first AI to beat human professionals at heads-up no-limited Texas Hold'em, and Amii's work in diagnosing schizophrenia. Spencer holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta and a diploma in Public Relations from MacEwan University.

Sarah Shoker

Research Scientist, OpenAI

Dr. Sarah Shoker is a postdoctoral fellow in political science at the University of Waterloo, where she uses empirical methods to research the social and policy impact of emerging technologies. She is a SSHRC 2020-2022 postdoctoral fellow, along with being the winning beneficiary for the 2019-2020 University of Waterloo Trailblazer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

She was the founder of Glassbox, a social impact firm that trained stakeholders in government and the tech sector to identify how social values are translated into AI systems. Dr. Shoker's PhD research on military drones and autonomy in military systems was nominated for the Canadian CAGS/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award and was later adapted into a book published by Palgrave MacMillan, titled Military-Age Males in U.S Counterinsurgency and Drone Warfare.

Whether she is speaking on panels sponsored by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, to think tanks like the Centre for International Governance Innovation, or to United Nations member states, she always strives to use her research to bridge the gap between stakeholders who often have very different ideas about AI's role in society.

Bonnie Schmidt

Founder and President, Let's Talk Science

Bonnie Schmidt is the founder and president of Let's Talk Science, a national education charity that she started in 1991 while completing a PhD in Physiology. Let's Talk offers a robust suite of STEM and digital literacy programming for Early years to Grade 12 youth and educators, and volunteers. Bonnie is also interested in education systems change, and during 2016-18, she spearheaded Canada 2067, an ambitious, consultation-based initiative to shape the future of STEM education. She currently serves on the Genome Canada Board of Directors. In 2020 she was a member of the PISA Expert Strategic Visioning Group to the OECD, which set about developing a new vision for the international science test that is administered to 15 year olds. Prior volunteer contributions include Chairing the National Leadership Taskforce on Education & Skills for the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). For her efforts in education and youth development Bonnie has received more than a dozen awards. She was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2015 and a Special Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2018.

Catherine Riddell

Former Co-Chair of the Public Awareness Working Group (February 2020 – November 2021)
Former Vice-President, Strategic Communications at CIFAR

Catherine Riddell was Vice-President, Strategic Communications at CIFAR, a Canadian-based global research organization that leads the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. She is an accomplished communications leader who has earned numerous awards of excellence for innovation, communications strategy and outreach. Catherine joined CIFAR from the University of Toronto where she held senior roles in administration and governance, among them serving as an elected member of the Governing Council, as Vice-Chair of the University Affairs Board, and in an advisory role to the President as a member of the Executive Committee. Catherine holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Western University and a Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto.