Governing data and AI in the public interest

Wednesday November 25: 2:20 – 3:15 PM

Governments depend on non-government partners to implement large scale projects with public purpose such as contact-tracing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or smart city development to meet housing and sustainability goals. However, current models of data and AI governance tend to concentrate access in the hands of a few large technology companies—excluding citizens from sharing in their value. This panel will explore the conditions under which new governance tools, such as data trusts, can provide individuals with more control over their personal data and enhance individual privacy and human rights.

Additionally, this panel will discuss the implications of governance tools on increasing access to data, addressing asymmetries of power between corporations, the government and individuals, as well as empowering the public to use their data to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Phil Dawson, Element AI
Ashley Casovan, AI Global
Stephen Ibaraki,  REDDS Capital
Skaidra Puodziunas, Ontario Digital Service (moderator)

Philip Dawson
Philip Dawson is Public Policy Lead at Element AI, a leading AI solutions company headquartered in Montreal, Canada, where he leads the company’s policy work on the governance of data and AI. He is a frequent speaker at international workshops and conferences. Phil is the co-chair of the Data Governance Standardization Collaborative in Canada and actively participates in international policy-making efforts through the OECD, the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. A former policy advisor at the United Nations aviation agency, Phil began his career in civil and commercial litigation. He holds degrees in political science, comparative politics and law from McGill University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Ashley Casovan
Ashley has been at the forefront of building tools and policy interventions to support the responsible use and adoption of innovative technologies, both with her work at the Government of Canada, and as the Executive Director of AI Global, a multi-stakeholder  non-profit dedicated to mitigating harm and unintended consequences of AI systems. As a recognized leader in the social tech community she has developed a strong reputation for developing workable governance for data, artificial intelligence, and open source tools. Her work and ability to bring experts together to solve important challenges has led to meaningful change in government and beyond. Her work helps to inform government, industry, and academic research. She is currently a member of the following initiatives:

  • Chair, Responsible AI Certification Working Group, World Economic Forum
  • OECD’s Network of Experts, AI Policy Observatory
  • Canada’s AI Strategy Council Public Awareness Working Group
  • The Canadian Data Governance Collaboration Steering Committee
  • Responsible AI Advisor to the United States Government Accountability Office
  • Responsible AI standards –  ISO JTC1/SC42, IEEE, CIO Strategy Council
  • The Open Community for Ethics in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (OCEANIS)
  • Advisor to InnSoTech project for Alberta “HelpSeekers” Initiative
  • Member of Advisory Board for NSERC research project at University of Toronto, “CREATE Responsible AI”
  • Industry Advisor for independent study, “Current Health Regulations and their impact on AI,” University of Texas, Faculty of Law

Stephen Ibaraki
Stephen Ibaraki is Chairman and Managing General Partner REDDS Capital. In addition, Stephen is globally unique with Chairman, Founder, Board roles in: Business and startups, successful Entrepreneurship/investments/venture capital, No.1 global computing Science organizations, No.1 UN-related innovation programs, No.1 CEO / Industry-organizations / think tanks, No.1 Summits (acronym BE-SUN-CIS). 300+ annual global engagements impacting USD $100+ Trillion in ESG (environmental, social, governance), sustainable investments for 2020. He is keynote speaker, moderator, producer at more than 100 global CEO and leader events annually. Stephen’s has more than 300 “lifetime and career” achievements and awards for disruptive innovation, futuristic investments, successful entrepreneurship, and global technology leadership, as exemplified by July 2020 IFIP news — 18 global Microsoft Awards including 15 Microsoft MVP Awards— last one awarded in July 1st, 2020. There is more on LinkedIn.

Skaidra Puodziunas – Moderator

Skaidra (think hydra, say skydra) is currently a Senior Engagement Advisor at the Ontario Digital Service. Here she highlights the voices of multidisciplinary teams working to make government services intuitive for all and manages #OntarioDigital – a blog on digital, the Ontario Government and all things in between. Skaidra is also a co-organizer of Civic Tech Toronto, a volunteer-led community open to anyone with an interest in solving civic and social issues, and a leader in the global lithuanian community. Skaidra believes “digital government” is simply good government and is always open to virtual coffee chats to discuss this further. Find her on Twitter at @SkaidraP and say Labas/Bonjour!