In Canada, legal tender consists of:

The Bank of Canada Act gives the Bank the sole authority to issue bank notes for circulation in Canada.

All notes issued by the Bank have full face value. That means you can still deposit a $20 note from the 1935 series into your bank account at face value. But a collector may scold you for it!

What Is “Legal Tender?”

The Bank is often asked why bank notes are called “legal tender” if merchants can refuse them. A “tender” is an offer of payment of a debt, including all the usual purchases consumers make every day. Payment may take many forms, such as cheques, credit and debit cards, coins and bank notes. “Legal tender” refers to the money approved for paying debts. If bank notes are being offered as payment, they must have been issued by the Bank of Canada because no other bank notes are "legal tender" in Canada.

This does not force anyone to accept cash because both parties must agree on the payment method. The fact that bank notes are legal tender does not mean that there is a legal obligation to accept them.

Suspicious of that Old Paper Bill?

In the case of an older note, if you can’t remember what the security features are, ask for a more recent note.

Royal Canadian Mint

Coins from the Royal Canadian Mint
Curious about coins?

The Bank of Canada only issues bank notes. If you have questions about Canada’s coins, visit the Royal Canadian Mint.

Currency Museum

Artifacts from the Currency Museum
Where Money Talks

Discover more about past bank note series, browse the collection, and check out our travelling exhibitions.