History and Membership of the G20 

How the G20 Works

Founded in 1999, the G20 began as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors who met once a year, usually in late autumn, to discuss international economic issues.

With the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008, the G20 evolved into the premier leaders’ forum for our international economic cooperation. Annual meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors continue to take place, advancing the work of the G20 and contributing to the discussions at leaders’ summits. G20 leaders met three times from 2008 to 2010 and are meeting twice in 2010. From 2011 onward, it is expected that G20 leaders’ summits will be held annually.

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. In 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s G20 Sherpa for the Antayla Summit is Vincent Rigby, Assistant Deputy Minister for Strategic Policy.

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. For example, along with India, Canada chaired the Working Group on Enhancing Sound Regulation and Strengthening Transparency in preparation for the London Summit. In 2010, Canada and India are co-chairing the Working Group on the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth.

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

Working groups

  • Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth
  • Anti-Corruption (established at the G20 Toronto Summit)
  • Development (established at the G20 Toronto Summit)
  • International Monetary Fund Quota and Governance Reform

Experts groups

  • Financial Safety Nets
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Energy

Involvement of Other Organizations

The G20’s work is supported by international organizations such as the World Bank, the IMF, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Labour Organization, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. The G20 calls upon experts from these institutions for technical advice and input from their respective areas of responsibility. 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.

You can find out more about the G20 by reading about its member states and past G20 summits.


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

Other Organizations