Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Canada is one of the 20 founding members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Just as Canada was committed to strengthening the economic cooperation of the Marshall Plan, Canada contributed to the creation of the OECD with the goal of promoting economic growth as a path to stability. In Canada, the three levels of government and about thirty separate federal government departments/agencies are involved in OECD work. Canada is very active in the OECD at the committee level and Canadians currently chair several committees and working parties. Canada ranks seventh in terms of assessed contributions to the OECD, paying 3.84% of member countries’ budget contributions.

The OECD comprises 37 member countries, which collectively account for 62.2% of the world economy, 61.2% of world merchandise imports and 17.5% of the world’s population.

The Permanent Delegation of Canada to the OECD comprises an ambassador and a team of diplomats and others as the conduit between the Government of Canada, the OECD and the other member states.

Bill Morneau, Canada’s candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Permanent Mission of Canada to the OECD is located in Paris, France.

The OECD

The OECD comprises 37 member countries, which collectively account for 62.2% of the world economy, 61.2% of world merchandise imports and 17.5% of the world’s population. It is dedicated to ensuring the sustainable economic prosperity of its members and non-members through the advancement of economic, social and democratic best practices. Within the OECD, governments work together to address the challenges of globalization and technological development.

The OECD is a key multilateral forum through which members and partners, supported by a secretariat, collaboratively develop evidence-based policies and practices to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth and address social and development issues with a view to improving living standards around the world.

The OECD brings together 37 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America and the Pacific. Its primary purpose is to provide a forum to discuss and identify compatible, mutually supporting and constructive approaches to economic and social issues. This helps ensure sustainable economic growth and provides employment and rising standards of living for the international community.

The organization addresses a wide range of international and domestic policy issues. Broad themes are analyzed and debated by OECD delegates: trade, social and welfare issues, public governance, development, tax, transport, science and technology and innovation.

The OECD grew out of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, set up by the United States, Canada and European countries to coordinate the Marshall Plan. In 1961, 20 countries, including Canada signed the convention to create the OECD to assist governments in achieving economic growth and development. Over the last 40 years the OECD’s membership and scope has grown considerably.

Almost all regions of the globe are now represented among the OECD’s 37 members. However, its work is not merely for the benefit of members alone: recognizing the harmonization of the global economy, the OECD reaches out to over 100 developing and emerging countries.

In 2007, OECD members decided to enlarge the organization's membership and increase relations with the major emerging economies. Chile, Slovenia, Israel and Estonia joined the OECD in 2010. In 2016, Latvia became the 35th member country. Lithuania joined in 2018.

The OECD is the world’s largest and most reliable source of comparable statistical, economic and social data. It provides an objective comparative analysis of members’ policies and performances, develops best practices, and undertakes peer reviews on a wide variety of key economic, social and environmental policy issues. It develops guidelines and agreements to better harmonize policies across the OECD and undertakes analysis and outreach in selected non-member countries. To achieve this, the organization pursues:

  1. public policy research, either breaking new research ground (in areas such as digitalization, taxation, the nature of work, inclusive growth, health, education, trade and services, development financing and innovation) or advancing knowledge (on economic outlooks, aging, migration, aid effectiveness, job creation, structural adjustment, etc.);
  2. soft law, by putting forward common international practices and standards in areas such as taxation, corporate governance and the measurement of innovation and classification of science, tariffs and trade flow data; and
  3. peer reviews, which represent one of the OECD’s core strengths by offering to its 37 members a framework to examine and compare experiences and discuss “best practices” in a host of areas from economic policy to environmental protection to job-creation strategies.

The decision-making body of the organization is the Council, comprising an ambassador from each member country and one from the European Commission. The Council provides guidance to the organization and its work. Member countries meet and exchange information in committees, in which national representatives advance ideas and review progress in defined areas of policy. There are about 250 committees, working groups and experts groups in all, bringing together some 40,000 officials each year to review and contribute to the work undertaken by the OECD Secretariat.

The Permanent Delegation

The Permanent Delegation of Canada to the OECD comprises an ambassador and a team of 13 diplomats and locally engaged staff. As the key interface between the Government of Canada, the OECD Secretariat and 34 other member states, plus the European Union, the Permanent Delegation provides strategic advice and support to close to 700 Canadian delegates who contribute to OECD social, economic and development aid policy discussions. The ambassador represents Canada in the organization’s governing body, the OECD Council and, in collaboration with the other ambassadors, determines the organization’s program of work and budget.

The team strives to maximize the utility of the OECD to Canadian policy makers by:

  • advancing Canadian views and positions within the OECD;
  • managing the OECD’s institutional governance by representing Canada in the administrative bodies of the organization (Council, Executive Committee, Budget Committee, External Relations Committee, Evaluation Committee);
  • representing Canada in substantive OECD committee meetings;
  • supporting Canadian delegates from all levels of government participating in OECD meetings (about 700 annually);
  • disseminating the results of OECD work; and
  • Increasing public knowledge of the role of the OECD in the international architecture and Canada’s role in the organization.

Canada’s candidate, Bill Morneau

Canada announced the nomination of Mr. Bill Morneau, Canada’s former Finance Minister, as Canada’s candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Biography

  • Minister of finance (2015 to 2020)
  • Accomplished business leader
  • Proven international experience
  • Philanthropist
  • Governor to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (2015 to 2020)
  • Member of the new NAFTA negotiating team

The Honourable Bill Morneau is Canada’s candidate for Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He was minister of finance from 2015 to 2020. He is also an accomplished business leader and philanthropist with proven international experience.

As Canada’s Minister of Finance, Mr. Morneau played a key role in shaping progressive, sustainable and gender-responsive economic policies, including Canada’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also an active member in all of the major international social-economic forums, including the G7, G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, La Francophonie and the OECD, where he has advocated on issues surrounding climate change and the digital economy.

Between 1990 and 2015, Mr. Morneau led the multinational human resources firm Morneau Shepell. Under his leadership, the firm grew to over 4,000 employees, becoming the largest human resources services provider in Canada.

As a philanthropist, Mr. Morneau has worked to support the arts, help at-risk youth and improve access to health care and education around the world. He founded a school for Somali and Sudanese girls in a UN Refugee Agency camp in northern Kenya and served as chair of the C.D. Howe Institute, a leading Canadian economic think tank.

Mr. Morneau is fluent in English and French, and holds a BA from Western University, an MSc (Economics) from the London School of Economics and an MBA from INSEAD.

Key areas of focus

  • A global economic recovery that works for everyone
  • Building green and resilient economies
  • Addressing the challenges of a digitalized world
  • Providing proven leadership to achieve better outcomes
  • Advancing gender equality

Notable engagements

  • Lead Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
  • Speaker, Shaping Global Growth, World Economic Forum 2020
  • Speaker, Every Woman, Every Child, IMF & World Bank meetings, 2019
  • President of the G7 Finance Ministers’ Meetings, 2018
  • Speaker, Combating Tax Evasion and Avoidance, G20 Summit, 2018
  • Keynote speaker, Opportunities for Collaboration Across Multilateral Development Banks, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 2017

Canada’s candidate to the OECD

The Government of Canada is pleased to nominate Bill Morneau, Canada’s minister of finance from 2015 to 2020, for the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As Canada’s finance minister, he played a leading role in Canada’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, through feminist and progressive policies, helped build a strong economy that benefits everyone.

In an increasingly complex and evolving international context, the OECD provides a unique setting for its members to discuss pressing social, economic and environmental issues; to conduct evidence-based policy analysis; to promote greener and more inclusive global growth; and to support the creation of best practices and measurable international standards. In order to fulfill its important mandate over the next decade, the organization needs a Secretary-General who has the ability to think strategically and who can innovate and engage diverse groups to address complex global issues. The next OECD leader must be able to develop a clear vision and mobilize subject-matter expertise and must have demonstrated excellence in management. It will also be critically important to be attuned to members’ needs and to foster collaboration.

A knowledgeable and collaborative leader with proven international experience

Bill Morneau has worked in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, which gives him unique insights into the needs and interests of different groups and how to build bridges between them. He recognizes the importance, both in Canada and in international settings, of common approaches to difficult problems and of forging consensus to address challenges. He has proven his ability to work with different stakeholder groups and, in multilateral contexts, to speak up for partners, irrespective of size or geography, to achieve outcomes that benefit the greatest number of people possible.

Mr. Morneau has gained a deep appreciation of the complex issues currently facing OECD countries through his active participation in major international socio-economic forums, including the G7, the G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the OECD, and as governor of both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Prior to his time in a government that has focused on sustainable, inclusive and gender-responsive economic policies over the last five years, Mr. Morneau was chair of the C.D. Howe Institute, a leading Canadian economic think tank. Through this work, he has gained experience in public policy research and understanding of the urgent need to find constructive solutions to difficult problems, including growth, inequality, the rapid shift to digitalization, challenges to rules-based trade and climate change.

A global economic recovery that works for everyone

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed structural challenges in our economies and clear gaps in social safety nets around the world. Women, young people, low-skilled workers and vulnerable populations have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic. Small and medium-sized businesses, the engine of growth in many countries, have been pushed to adapt in ways that were unimaginable less than a year ago. Achieving a post-pandemic recovery that aims to close these gaps and helps economies get on a track to renewed prosperity will clearly be a critical area of focus for OECD members in the years to come. A deep understanding of the economic and social issues that have emerged from the pandemic will be essential. Credibility on this file, such as that possessed by a finance minister from an OECD member state that has successfully supported its citizens through these challenging times, will be extremely beneficial to the organization’s leadership in this area.

Building green and resilient economies

Climate change is impacting people and businesses around the world and shaping the future of economies. The OECD can play an important role in the development, coordination and implementation of key policy initiatives among member states. Seizing the opportunities of the green economy will also be crucial to a successful transition that creates greater economic opportunities for citizens and does not leave workers behind. Coming from a country with an ambitious climate change agenda and a large energy sector, Mr. Morneau has extensive experience in developing and implementing complex policy initiatives that aim to reduce carbon emissions and create economic growth. He will work with member states to find common ground on the best practices, aimed at achieving clear objectives, that all countries will need to depend on in the years to come.

Addressing the challenges of the digitalized world

The digitalization of the global economy has dramatically changed the way citizens learn, engage with each other and earn a living. This massive shift in behaviour has created gaps between the public policies of member states that can only be closed through increased international cooperation and consensus-based solutions. The OECD is uniquely placed to lead the way. Its role involves engaging with the private sector, labour and other key partners in civil society in the development of policy and in identifying and communicating the need for change that benefits everyone. Experience working with these stakeholders in various capacities gives Mr. Morneau unique insight into building multi-stakeholder collaboration on important social and economic policy questions, such as taxation policies that are fair for member states while ensuring the attraction of investment and maintaining and promoting business competitiveness.

Leadership excellence to achieve better outcomes

The success of the OECD depends on strong operational effectiveness, accountability and experienced management. Mr. Morneau honed his managerial skills over the course of a long career in the private sector, growing the firm Morneau Shepell from a few hundred employees to more than 4,000. Part of the OECD’s continued success will be based on the ability of the Secretary-General to harness the skills of over 3,700 employees from various countries and very diverse backgrounds to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. Throughout his career, including during his time in a gender-balanced Cabinet, Mr. Morneau has seen up close the importance of diversity, inclusion and modernizing management practices to achieve the best possible organizational outcomes. In addition, as finance minister, he has gained valuable public sector experience working across agendas in a rigorous and fiscally responsible way.

The connections Mr. Morneau has built over the last several years working with international partners in various multilateral forums, including the OECD, will be invaluable in helping him serve the best interests of member states. Looking forward, he will continue to build and uphold the international standards and best practices for which the organization is known. If chosen to lead, Mr. Morneau will faithfully represent the views of members in the execution of this important work.

Contact information

The Permanent Mission of Canada to the OECD is located in Paris, France.

Address

15 bis rue de Franqueville
75116 Paris
France

Telephone: (011-33-1) 44 43 20 90

Fax: (011-33-1) 44 43 20 99

Email: poecd@international.gc.ca

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