In Canada, legal tender consists of:
- bank notes issued by the Bank of Canada
- coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint
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?
The new Polymer series is our most secure issue yet. If you have doubts when verifying a note - from any series of paper notes - you should ask for a polymer note.