About the premier forum for international economic cooperation

Origin of the G20

Established in the wake of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, the Group of 20 (G20) consisted at the beginning of finance ministers and central bank governors of advanced and emerging economies. They would meet once a year to better ensure the stability of financial markets and to promote economic cooperation.

Leaders’ summits

The first meeting of G20 leaders took place in 2008, in Washington, D.C., at the onset of the global financial crisis. There, leaders agreed to an action plan to stabilize the global economy and prevent future crises.

Leaders met a second time in London on April 1-2, 2009. Their reunion was marked by the announcement of a historic pledge of US$1.1 trillion to restore credit, growth and jobs in the world economy.

Following up on the measures taken in London, G20 leaders met for a third time that same year in Pittsburgh. That summit established the G20 as the premier forum for our international economic cooperation, and helped increase the voice of emerging economies in the international financial institutions.

How the G20 works

Summit hosts are responsible for preparing leaders’ summits and for organizing the series of preparatory meetings that advance G20 work throughout the year.

The G20 has no permanent secretariat, and much of the preparation for the summit is completed by G20 leader’s personal representatives, known as “sherpas”. Sherpas maintain contact with each other over the course of the year to discuss agenda items for the summit and coordinate the work of the G20.

Working groups

Working groups and experts groups are established when needed to support the work of leaders, finance ministers, central bank governors and sherpas.

Working groups and experts groups are generally co-chaired by one advanced and one emerging economy. In 2010, Canada and India co-chaired the working group on the G20 framework for strong, sustainable, and balanced growth.

Working groups and experts groups currently exist in the following areas:

Involvement of other organizations

The G20’s work is supported by experts from international organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Labour Organization, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations.

The G20 also works with the Financial Stability Board to address vulnerabilities, to develop and implement strong regulatory, supervisory and other policies in the interest of financial stability, and to monitor and report on progress in strengthening financial regulation.

G20 declarations and documents


G20 summit documents

G20 ministerial documents


2014 and earlier

The information identified on these pages is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to Government of Canada web standards and has not been altered or updated since it was published. The documents have been archived via the Library and Archives Canada.

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One can access information about Canada's relations with G20 partners by selecting country from the list below:

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