The Bank is the "fiscal agent" for the Government of Canada. The role of fiscal agent encompasses several responsibilities relating to the management of public funds:
The Bank manages the accounts of the Receiver General, through which almost all money collected and spent by the government flows. The Bank ensures that these accounts have enough cash to meet daily requirements and invests any surpluses in term deposits.
The Bank also manages the government's foreign exchange reserves. These reserves provide general liquidity for the government and help promote orderly conditions in the Canadian-dollar foreign exchange market. On very rare occasions the Bank may directly intervene in the market, to counter disruptive short-term movements in the Canadian dollar.
The government's public debt (also called domestic debt or federal debt) consists largely of outstanding government securities, such as treasury bills and marketable bonds. The Bank provides policy advice to the government on the efficient management of this debt and sells the securities at auction to financial market distributors and dealers. The main goal of the Bank's debt-management activities is to help provide stable and low-cost funding to the government.
Under its retail debt program, the government issues Canada Savings Bonds and Canada Premium Bonds. These bonds are available through a network of sales agents, through organizations sponsoring the Payroll Savings Program, as well as through direct sales by telephone.
As fiscal agent for the government, the Bank is responsible for providing advice to the Department of Finance for the retail debt program and for implementing the program including operations and system support services, accounting and sales and marketing initiatives.