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At the Bank of Canada, we’re responsible—as the country’s sole authority for issuing bank notes—for supplying Canadians with notes they can use with confidence and pride. We also undertake research on cash and digital currencies.

Issuance of bank notes

Design and production

Through our ongoing research and development, we issue bank notes with improved security features to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats.

It takes several years to design and issue a new bank note. We’re guided by a set of design principles that ensures that our new notes:

  • offer enhanced security
  • are functional and usable in cash-handling machines
  • are recognizable, accessible and bilingual
  • reflect Canada

As part of the design process, we consult Canadians on the visual content—which includes the theme, subject matter and images to appear on a new note. We also work closely with many stakeholder groups to prepare and facilitate a new note’s introduction.

Every note is a combination of art and technology. The printing is contracted to Canadian Bank Note Company, a private-sector security printer. Notes are printed 45 to a sheet, cut and inspected, and then delivered to the Bank.

Distribution and quality

Through Canada’s Bank Note Distribution System, we supply financial institutions with the bank notes they need to satisfy public demand.

We also control the flow and quality of notes. From printing new bank notes to monitoring those that are already in circulation, we ensure that notes handled in day-to-day transactions are of good quality so that they are easy for Canadians to verify and use.

All bank notes received at our operations centres are inspected on high-speed note-processing equipment. When they become worn or damaged, polymer notes are shredded and then recycled.

Education and awareness

We promote the routine verification of bank notes. To do this, we deliver currency training and education to law enforcement, financial institutions, retailers and the public.

Education and awareness are an important part of the mandate of our regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal and Halifax. These offices serve as contact points for stakeholders requiring assistance to access the services we offer.

Counterfeit deterrence

We advocate counterfeit deterrence through law enforcement and the courts. Often, we partner with police to teach Canadians why it’s important to check their bank notes.

Legal tools are also available to help Crown prosecutors bring counterfeiters to justice.

Research on cash and digital currencies

We undertake research to understand the Canadian payments landscape.

Our research includes ongoing work to understand the demand for and use of cash, as well as the use and evolution of digital currencies and fintech.

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