Canada's participation at the 2019 G20 summit

Leaders' summits

A leading global forum

The Group of Twenty (G20) is the primary forum for international economic cooperation among its members, the world's major economies, representing all inhabited continents, 85% of global economic output, two thirds of the world's population, and 75% of international trade. The G20 reflects a recognition that global prosperity is interdependent and our economic opportunities and challenges are interlinked.

The G20 comprises 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Countries take turns hosting an annual summit event, which offers an opportunity for discussions outside of a negotiating context, and for a dialogue on matters that will affect policy-making in the near future, including on issues associated with other forums such as the WTO.G20 policy-making is enriched by the participation of key international organizations (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Labour Organization, World Trade Organization, United Nations, etc.), which are regularly invited to G20 meetings; guest countries who are invited at the president's discretion; and engagement groups comprising different sectors of civil society.


The G20 emerged out of a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors in 1999 in response to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Originally, its purpose was to bring together finance ministers and central bank governors from advanced and emerging economies to support the stability of financial markets and to promote economic cooperation.

In 2008, amidst the global financial crisis, the world—Canada in particular—saw a need for new consensus building at the highest political level. The first meeting of G20 leaders took place in November 2008, in Washington, D.C., immediately following the onset of the global financial crisis. The leaders at that meeting agreed to an action plan to stabilize the global economy and prevent future crises. The leaders met a second time, in London, U.K., in April 2009, announcing an 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, Pennsylvania. That summit established the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation among participants.

The elevation of the G20 to the leaders’ level provides a new setting for dialogue between advanced and emerging economies and broadens the range of longer-term economic issues for consideration. Today, issues with the potential of affecting stability and growth, such as climate, major health challenges, steel excess capacity and e-commerce are also discussed.

How the G20 works

The presidency of the G20 rotates annually among its members. 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 working process changes from year to year. Ministerial meetings, working groups, and other experts’ groups are added or removed by the presidency. This depends on the priority areas the host wishes to introduce to augment or adjust the agenda.

The G20 has no permanent secretariat. Much of the preparation for the summit is completed by G20 leaders’ personal representatives, known as sherpas. With finance ministers and their deputies, sherpas are a recurring feature of summits. They maintain contact with each other during the course of the year to discuss agenda items for the summit and to coordinate the work of the G20. The work of the G20 culminates each cycle with a communiqué expressing members’ commitments and vision for the future. Chosen recommendations and deliverables from ministerial meetings and other workstreams will also reach sherpas and deputies of finance ministers on their way to be incorporated in the communiqué for leaders’ endorsements.

Canada’s sherpa for the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019 is Jonathan Fried.

Working process

These are a number of key work streams, or tracks, which support the annual lead-up to the G20 leaders’ summit every year. Each of these processes is based on key topics and themes the annual presidency decides to focus on and is managed by relevant ministers and/or their experts. Related meetings take place to provide specific expertise and recommendations and produce deliverables for ministers, some of which will ultimately reach leaders via their personal representatives (sherpas). Building on the G20’s origins, leaders are also informed by meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors, who are assisted by their deputies.

Ministerial tracks and Workstreams

Working groups and experts’ groups are established when needed to support the work of leaders, finance ministers, central bank governors and other ministries. These groups are generally co-chaired by one advanced and one emerging economy.

Working groups and experts’ groups in 2019 include these:

Agriculture Ministers (supported by agriculture deputies)

Canada supports Japan’s priorities for the G20 agriculture stream, which are needed for innovation toward the sustainability of the agri-food sector, domestic agri-food value chains, and the need for collaboration and knowledge exchange to address global issues. This includes achieving sustainable development goals. Canada continues to advocate its views on global food insecurity and facilitating rules-based agri-food trade, which would enable farmers to earn better incomes. Canada emphasizes the role of farmers in agricultural-innovation processes, with a particular emphasis on the transformative potential of women farmers. Canada supports the efforts to initiate effective dialogue on other issues of interest to the global agriculture and agri-food sector, including new technologies, reduction in food loss and waste, and many others. You can see results of this meeting on the G20 Niigata Agriculture page.

Anti-Corruption Working Group (reporting to sherpas)

Corruption has been on the G20 leaders’ agenda since 2009. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) was established in 2010. Effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption remains a priority for all G20 members. With the agreement of a new three-year G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan in 2018, Canada will begin to work with international organizations and other G20 members to deepen the understanding of the relationship between corruption and gender.

Climate Sustainability Working Group

The Climate Sustainability Working Group (CSWG) promotes climate action and sustainable development by G20 countries through the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

Canada played an active role as co-chair of the CSWG under the Argentine presidency in 2018. In this role, Canada also championed the importance of including a gender perspective in climate change action.

Under the 2019 Japanese presidency, Canada will continue to play a leadership role in ensuring that the G20 remains an active forum for climate action. The CSWG this year is anticipated to contribute to the first-ever G20 Joint Ministerial on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth. The CSWG will assist in advancing the Adaptation Work Program (2018 to 2019) adopted in Argentina.

Environment Senior Officials Meeting (reporting to global environment ministers)

Japan aims to advance international efforts on resource efficiency and marine litter, notably plastic, through a new Environment Senior Officials Meeting as part of the joint ministerial meeting. Canada intends to continue to work with Japan and G20 members to advance global efforts to address plastic pollution and marine litter and help leverage the Ocean Plastics Charter, agreed to by a majority of countries at the G7 leaders’ summit in June 2018.

Development Working Group (reporting to sherpas)

The Japanese presidency’s development agenda will continue to position the G20 as an engaged and key stakeholder in support of the 2030 Agenda. Building on past G20 initiatives, Japanese priorities include furthering a shared understanding of quality infrastructure to enhance international connectivity and building human capital through support for inclusive and resilient education.

These development priorities offer strong ties and opportunities to further Canada’s commitments to help the poorest and most vulnerable, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, and implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Working with other G20 members, Canada will support Japan in developing a report on the G20’s progress to date on implementing the 2030 Agenda, as well as a triennial comprehensive accountability report of the G20’s development achievements since the 2016 Hangzhou G20 summit.

Digital economy ministers (supported by Digital Economy Task Force)

Building upon Germany’s 2017 G20 Roadmap to Digitalization, the 2018 Salta Declaration emphasized collective action on the digital economy, including digital governments’ skills for the future of work, digital infrastructure and inclusion, and the digital gender divide. In 2019, Japan will shift its focus to Society 5.0 and how digitalization can address societal challenges while working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Canada’s continued focus is on people in the digital economy, as expressed in the Innovation and Skills Plan, and the key themes of our 2018 G7 presidency. In the 2019 G20, Canada will promote digital skills development, inclusive access to the digital economy and public trust in technologies—all against a backdrop of gender equality. Canada will also advocate a human-centric vision for artificial intelligence grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth.

Employment Working Group

Building on the G20 priorities of Italy in 2017 and Argentina in 2018, Japan will continue to explore the overarching theme of the future of work, as well as three pillars of discussion:

  • adapting to demographic changes and aging populations
  • promoting gender equality in the labour market
  • new forms of work arising from technological changes and digitization

Canada will advocate for growth that benefits everyone, achieving gender equality, mitigating the effects of the aging ¬¬population on the economy and labour market, and helping its citizens to adapt and transition into the new world of work. Education and skills training continue to be essential, and Canada will continue to advocate for creating a culture of lifelong learning by providing access to the high-quality education and skills needed to reach one’s life goals.

Energy transitions ministers (supported by Energy Transitions Working Group)

Transitions to a clean energy future are an essential element of long-term development strategies to ensure global energy access and security. Recognizing the role of energy in shaping our shared energy future and promoting fair and sustainable development, the Energy Transitions Working Group works to establish the groundwork for policies on topics such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy access and affordability, the reduction of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, data transparency, and innovation.

Canada’s priority in this area is to advance the development of clean and resilient energy systems that support economic growth. Continuing the momentum of the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation meetings in Vancouver in May 2019, Canada will be seeking cooperation among G20 countries on the pressing global issues that must be tackled to support climate change action, energy access, reliability and affordability. Canada considers sustainable investment, innovative technologies, quality infrastructure and energy efficiency as integral to transitions toward a sustainable energy future. This is in line with the four pathways for the clean energy transition outlined in the Generation Energy Council Report.

Finance ministers and central bank governors (supported by finance minister and central bank deputies)

Building on the G20’s origins, leaders are also informed by meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors, who are assisted by their deputies. Canada will again co-chair the Framework Working Group, which will continue to monitor risks to the global economic outlook and advance the understanding of global imbalances and macroeconomic implications of an aging population. Along with like-minded countries, Canada will work through the International Financial Architecture Working Group to address debt vulnerabilities in low-income countries and complete the 15th General Review of International Monetary Fund quotas. Canada will also work with the Japanese presidency to explore proposals by the Eminent Persons Group, focusing on items that promise tangible results in 2019. In particular, Canada will continue to push for progress on issues related to multilateral development banks working together as a system. Through the Infrastructure Working Group, Canada will promote investments that foster inclusive growth, including environmental, social, and governance aspects. Finally, Canada continues to support the G20 work on a harmonized approach to changing international tax principles in the context of digitalization and finalizing the financial regulation agenda.

Foreign affairs ministers
Trade ministers (supported by the Trade and Investment Working Group)

The G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) was created in 2015. Canada has been an active participant at the TIWG, which offers an important platform for dialogue on international trade and investment outside of a negotiating context and has provided a valuable contribution to the advancement of trade and investment issues of interest to Canada. In 2019, under Japan’s leadership, the TIWG will discuss World Trade Organization reform and digital trade, as well as current developments in international trade, including growing protectionism, market-distorting measures and the role of trade and investment in promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.

Tourism ministers (supported by tourism senior officials)

The meeting of tourism senior officials and G20 tourism ministers offers Canada the opportunity to exchange perspectives and best practices on tourism policy development. Participation in ongoing international discussions provides opportunities to learn how best to develop and sustain growth in Canada’s tourism sector.

Steel excess capacity ministers (supported by the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity)

The Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity (GFSEC) was established by leaders at the September 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou. The GFSEC is working to identify market-distorting subsidies and other types of support in order to develop policy solutions to reduce excess capacity in the steel sector. The GFSEC reported to G20 ministers in September 2018 and its work will continue in 2019. Canada has been among the most transparent of members by providing information on all support measures that are used by the steel sector. Canada supports full transparency by all participants so that a complete picture of support to the sector can be established.

Health ministers (supported by Health Working Group)

Issues of global health came to the fore at G20 in 2017 under the German Presidency. While still a relatively new area of focus for the G20, Canada supports health discussions given the importance of human health both as an important determinant and an outcome of economic growth, security and development. The Health Working Group (HWG) advises leaders and ministers of the key global health issues that the G20 can be helpful in advancing, both collectively within this forum, but also cooperatively in other multilateral forums. Canada will continue to seek opportunities to use the G20 HWG to advance domestic health, as well as international development priorities in order to maintain and improve the health of Canadians and people around the globe.

Joint health and finance ministers track on universal health care (supported by finance minister deputies and Health Working Group)

Japan’s full calendar of event can be found on the G20 Osaka Summit page.

Engagement groups

G20 members are committed to consultation with relevant stakeholder communities. The G20 establishment of engagement groups, comprising participants from each G20 member, provides a vehicle for such dialogue. They meet to discuss key issues affecting areas of interest and traditionally draft recommendations to the G20 governments to reflect the group’s position. While these recommendations are non-binding, they are taken into account by the G20 for its discussions, and thus contribute to the policy-making process. In 2017, for example, Canada embraced key elements of Canadian stakeholders’ output on, and ensured recognition of the challenge of, drug-resistant tuberculosis, as well as concerning the issue of steel and aluminum excess capacity.

Seven formal engagement groups have been established to advise and inform the G20’s decisions:

Each engagement group is chaired by organizations or individuals formally designated by the G20 host country. Three informal engagement groups have also been established:

Members and guests


  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • European Union
  • Germany
  • France
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America


  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Vietnam
  • Chile (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation President)
  • Egypt (African Union President)
  • Senegal (New Partnership for Africa's Development President)
  • Thailand (Association of Southeast Asian Nations President)
  • Asian Development Bank
  • Financial Stability Board
  • International Labour Organization
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • United Nations
  • World Bank
  • World Health Organization
  • World Trade Organization

Photos and videos

  • Welcoming remarks from the Argentina’s G20 Sherpa, Pedro Villagra Delgado, Bariloche, 2017
  • First Sherpa Meeting, 14-16 December 2017, Bariloche, Argentina
  • G20 Sherpas. First Sherpa Meeting, 14-16 December 2017, Bariloche, Argentina
  • Meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macri
  • Meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macri

Declarations and documents

2021 – Rome summit

2020 - Riyadh summit

2019 - Osaka summit

2018 - Buenos Aires summit

Summit documents

Ministerial documents

2017 - Hamburg summit

Summit documents

Ministerial documents

2016 - Hangzhou summit

Summit documents

Ministerial documents

2015 - Antalya summit

Summit documents

Ministerial documents

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