History and Members of the G8

History

The first summit, with six countries participating (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States), was prompted by concerns about the global economy and oil supplies. It was held in 1975 in Rambouillet, France.  Summits have focused on the global economy, international security, social development and issues of the day.

Canada joined the group in 1976 at the Puerto Rico Summit, hosted by the United States, making it the G7.  The European Community, now the European Union, was given observer status the following year at the London Summit. Russia became a full fledged member of the G8 in 1998.

How the G8 Works

The G8 summit brings together the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The summit has evolved over the years into an annual meeting that addresses a wide range of issues in areas such as international development, health and peace and security.

G8 presidency

The role of chairing the G8 rotates each calendar year among the member countries in the following order: France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. The European Union, though not part of this hosting rotation, also participates in the G8 and is represented by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.

The country holding the G8 presidency is responsible for hosting and organizing the summit and a number of ministerial-level preparatory meetings in the lead-up to the main event. The chair also bears the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the G8 and engaging non-member countries, non-governmental organizations and international organizations.

Preparatory meetings

The host country organizes several preparatory meetings before the summit. G8 leaders’ personal representatives, known as Sherpas, attend these meetings to discuss potential agenda items. The Sherpas, usually high-ranking government officials, communicate directly with each other throughout the year. In 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Sherpa for the Lough Erne Summit is Peter M. Boehm, Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

What happens at the Summit?

The Summit is a rare chance for the democratically elected Leaders of the G8 countries to meet, discuss common challenges, and decide on some common responses. 

Future Summits

4-5 June 2014 - Russia
2015 - Germany
2016 - Japan
2017 - Italy
2018 - Canada

G8 Summit Locations and Dates

1975-2013

17-18 June 2013 - Lough Erne (United Kingdom)
18-19 May 2012 - Camp David (United States of America) 
26-27 May 2011 - Deauville (France)
25-26 June 2010 - Muskoka (Canada)
8-10 July 2009 - L'Aquila (Italy)
7-9 July 2008 - Hokkaido Toyako (Japan)
6-8 June 2007 - Heiligendamm (Germany)
15-17 July 2006 - St Petersburg (Russia)
6-8 July 2005 - Gleneagles, Scotland (United Kingdom)
8-10 June 2004 - Sea Island, Georgia (United States of America)
1-3 June 2003 - Evian (France)
26-27 June 2002 - Kananaskis (Canada)
20-22 July 2001 - Genoa (Italy)
21-23 July 2000 - Okinawa (Japan)
18-20 June 1999 - Okinawa (Japan) 
15-17 May 1998 - Birmingham (United Kingdom)
20-22 June 1997 - Denver (United States of America)
27-29 June 1996 - Lyon (France)
19-20 April 1996 - Moscow (Russia) - Nuclear Safety and Security Summit
15-17 June 1995 - Halifax (Canada)
8-10 July 1994 - Naples (Italy)
7-9 July 1993 - Tokyo (Japan)
6-8 July 1992 - Munich (Germany)
15-17 July 1991 - London (United Kingdom)
9-11 July 1990 - Houston (United States of America)
14-16 July 1989 - Paris (France)
19-21 June 1988 - Toronto (Canada)
8-10 June 1987 - Venice (Italy)
4-6 May 1986 - Tokyo (Japan)
2-4 May 1985 - Bonn (Germany)
7-9 June 1984 - London (United Kingdom)
19-21 July 1981 - Ottawa (Canada)
22-23 June 1980 - Venice (Italy)
28-29 June 1979 - Tokyo (Japan)
16-17 July 1978 - Bonn (Germany)
6-8 May 1977 - London (United Kingdom)
27-28 June 1976 - Puerto Rico (United States of America)
15-17 November 1975 - Rambouillet (France) 

Membership

One can access information about Canada's relations with G8 partners by selecting country from the list below: