The Bank of Canada is the nation's central bank. We are not a commercial bank and do not offer banking services to the public. Rather, we have responsibilities for Canada's monetary policy, bank notes, financial system, and funds management. Our principal role, as defined in the Bank of Canada Act, is "to promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada."

A Special Type of Crown Corporation

The Bank was founded in 1934 as a privately owned corporation. In 1938, it became a Crown corporation belonging to the federal government. Since that time, the Minister of Finance has held the entire share capital issued by the Bank. Ultimately, the Bank is owned by the people of Canada.

The Bank is not a government department and conducts its activities with considerable independence compared with most other federal institutions. For example:

  • The Governor and Senior Deputy Governor are appointed by the Bank's Board of Directors (with the approval of Cabinet), not by the federal government.
  • The Deputy Minister of Finance sits on the Board of Directors but has no vote.
  • The Bank submits its expenditures to its Board of Directors. Federal government departments submit theirs to the Treasury Board.
  • Bank employees are regulated by the Bank itself, not by federal public service agencies.
  • The Bank's books are audited by external auditors appointed by Cabinet on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, not by the Auditor General of Canada.