Statement by OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann on death of Donald Johnston


07/02/2022 - It is with immense sadness that my colleagues and I learnt of the passing of the Honourable Donald Johnston, OECD Secretary-General from 1996 until 2006.  

Mr Johnston brought a wealth of experience to the OECD, as a distinguished lawyer, parliamentarian and cabinet minister in his native Canada. 

He guided the Organisation through a crucial period, expanding its membership and reinforcing its reputation for high quality evidence-based analysis and the highest standards of policy advice.

My thoughts and those of all at the OECD, in particular those who had the privilege to work under his calm, competent and inspiring leadership, are with his family at this sad time.

The Honourable Donald Johnston was a Member of the Canadian Parliament from 1978 to 1988. He served in the cabinet, first as President of the Treasury Board and then as Minister of State for Economic and Regional Development, Minister of Science and Technology, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Mr. Johnston studied Arts and Law at McGill University, graduating from law in 1958 as the Gold Medallist. In 1958-59 he studied at the University of Grenoble on a scholarship.

He taught fiscal law at McGill University from 1963 to 1976. He has written many articles on taxation, law and public affairs and is the author of several books including a best-selling political memoir. 

He was awarded France’s Légion d’honneur for his service as OECD Secretary-General.


Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is a global policy forum that promotes policies to preserve individual liberty and improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.


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