The next bank NOTE-able Canadian

Our call for nominations has ended, and an independent Advisory Council has developed a short list of candidates for the next $5 bank note. Learn how the selection process unfolded—and what's next.

View the short list of candidates selected by our Advisory Council.

Public consultation

In keeping with our principles of bank note design, we held an open call for nominations inviting Canadians to suggest which iconic Canadian they would like to see on the next $5 bank note.

The call for nominations was held over six weeks, from January 29 to March 11, 2020. Nearly 45,000 people answered the call, resulting in more than 600 eligible nominees.

These nominees met the following basic criteria:

  • They are a Canadian by birth or naturalization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement, or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada.
  • They have been deceased for at least 25 years (before March 11, 1995).
  • They are not a fictional character.

Selection process

After all the nominations were in, the selection process unfolded much like the one in 2016 that led to the selection of Viola Desmond as the portrait subject of the vertical $10 note.

1. Advisory Council

All eligible nominees were reviewed by an independent Advisory Council. They developed a short list of candidates.

Deliberations

Through a deliberative process reinforced by research, open dialogue and a wide range of perspectives and experiences, the Advisory Council agreed to a set of guiding principles in compiling their short list:

  • Positive change: The shortlisted nominees should have changed Canada and Canadians for the better.
  • National icon: Their impact is known nationally across Canada.
  • Universality: They have had an impact in Canada and this impact should reflect Canadian values.
  • Uniqueness: They are uniquely Canadian and known beyond their local/regional communities.
  • Relevancy: They had an impact that is relevant today.

A list of eight names may seem like a very short list, but the selected nominees emerged from thoughtful considerations and deep deliberations, to ensure it is a list we would all be proud to present and stand by with determination, whatever the end decision is. We deeply believe this list emphasizes the diverse contributions of Canadians to our shared history.”

Advisory Council for the next $5 bank note

2. Public opinion and historical research

  • Once the short list was identified, the Bank conducted a survey of a representative sample of Canadians and held focus groups.
  • The Advisory Council reviewed historical biographies on each of the shortlisted candidates.

3. Short list

  • Informed by the public opinion and historical research, the Advisory Council finalized their short list and informed the Bank.
  • The Bank submitted the short list to the Minister of Finance.

What happens next

4. Final decision

  • The Minister will make the final decision, in accordance with the Bank of Canada Act.
  • The name of the individual selected will be announced following the Minister’s decision.

5. Design

  • Once the new portrait subject has been selected, the bank note design process will begin. All we know right now is that it will be a polymer note with a vertical design.
  • We expect the new $5 note to begin circulating in a few years.