This survey’s questions relate to existing and new “software technologies.” These range from increments to current technologies such as enhancements to Excel, to software that automates repetitive tasks.

They include technologies that assist and may anticipate the analysis of basic information. The software technologies may also include cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI), even if only used in some areas of your department, including pattern recognition and machine learning. The questions are not limited to the AI that attracts a good deal of media attention such as driverless cars, facial recognition and robotics.

The survey looks at examples of potential changes including enhanced job opportunities, changes to job capabilities, and job restructuring. Your answers will also help your union identify opportunities and determine priority areas to follow up to improve and protect your jobs

For more information, see our definition of “AI.”

This survey is a pilot project of the Professional Union Network of Canada (PUNC), of which PIPSC and the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO-ACAF) are both members as are AMAPCEO (the Province of Ontario professional union), SPGQ (the Province of Quebec professional union) and PEA (the Province of BC professional union).

PUNC is investigating how developments around AI and other new software technology affect our union members. Before surveying all 110,000 members of the PUNC unions, PUNC wanted to do a smaller survey of PIPSC AFS and ACFO-ACAF members. These members are experiencing important changes in work-related software technology, with 8 AI projects underway at the CRA.

Please complete the survey by June 10, 2020 by following the link that was emailed to you.

Your responses are strictly confidential. Only a summary – no individual responses – will be communicated. The aggregated results will be presented internally before deciding if they will be shared more broadly.

Thank you very much for your participation. If you have any questions or comments about the survey, please feel free to contact us at

What do we mean by AI?

In this survey, we will be asking you whether you believe artificial intelligence (AI) and other new kinds of software technology are affecting or will affect your job.

First, we want to clarify what is meant by the term “artificial intelligence” since it is used with widely differing meanings. AI is a kind of computer software that can replace or help replace tasks previously carried out by humans and, in some circumstances, can make judgments from data as to what decisions should be made.

AI software starts with some kind of data input and generates an output. A popular example is driverless vehicles. In this case, the software input data includes vehicle speed and camera images of what is on the road ahead from a range of sensors. This software then uses these inputs to steer the vehicle and set its speed.

A quite different example is an Excel spreadsheet that starts with sets of expenditures classified by date and type of spending, then generates a graph for a report. This app is not generally considered AI, but it is an important example of a broader kind of technical progress where formerly routine tasks are automated. Excel has been complemented with a much more sophisticated version, Power BI.

We know that many different kinds of software will be introduced and evolve in ACFO-ACAF and PIPSC members’ workplaces. For this reason, instead of focusing exclusively on AI, the survey examines a broader group of software technologies. This group includes AI apps like voice recognition and sophisticated statistical analyses used for prediction, such as which tax returns should have the highest priority for audit. But it also includes apps that facilitate the construction and querying of databases and connecting such queries to other apps that can generate reports and graphs more easily, and with less routine effort.

As a shorthand, we refer to this broader group of software apps as “new software technologies.”

For further information on the definition of AI, please read this article.