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Governor General David Johnston

Governor General of Canada


David Johnston - Governor General of Canada

David Johnston - Governor General of Canada

David James / © University of Waterloo

About David Johnston

David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada, is a bilingual legal scholar with a long career in university administration. He was the President of the University of Waterloo from 1999 until 2010, and before that was the Principal of McGill for 15 years. His legal specialties are in the fields of securities regulations, corporation law and labour law.

Governor General of Canada

October 2010 to present


Born June 28, 1941 in Sudbury, Ontario. He was raised in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.


  • AB - Harvard University
  • LLB - University of Cambridge, Cambridge UK
  • LLB - Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario


  • Law professor at Queen's University, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario and McGill University
  • Principal of McGill University
  • President of the University of Waterloo
  • Early Academic Career of David Johnston

    David Johnston began his academic career as an assistant law professor at Queen's University in 1966. He moved to the law faculty at the University of Toronto, first as an assistant professor, then as a full professor. In 1974, he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario in London.

    David Johnston's Career as University Administrator

    In 1979, David Johnston was appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University in Montreal. In 1994, when he stepped down as Principal of McGill, he went back to McGill's Faculty of Law once again as a full professor. In 1999, he became President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. David Johnston has also served as President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

    David Johnston's Work in Public Policy

    Over the years, David Johnston has served on many associations, committees and task forces of both federal and provincial governments, including head of the Information Highway Advisory Council and the founding chair of the National Roundtable on Environment and the Economy.

    In late 2007, he was selected by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to define the parameters for the Oliphant Commission of Inquiry to examine the business dealings between Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber.

    David Johnston also served as the moderator of the 1979 and 1984 federal election leaders debates.

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