Policy Interest Rate

Recent Data

DateTarget (%)Change (%)
September 09, 2020 0.25 ---
July 15, 2020 0.25 ---
June 3, 2020 0.25 ---
April 15, 2020 0.25 ---
March 27, 2020 0.25 -0.5
March 16, 2020 0.75 -0.5
March 4, 2020 1.25 -0.5
January 22, 2020 1.75 ---
December 4, 2019 1.75 ---
October 30, 2019 1.75 ---
September 4, 2019 1.75 ---
July 10, 2019 1.75 ---

More Data

Definition

The Bank carries out monetary policy by influencing short-term interest rates. It does this by raising and lowering the target for the overnight rate.

The overnight rate is the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or "overnight") funds among themselves; the Bank sets a target level for that rate. This target for the overnight rate is often referred to as the Bank's policy interest rate.

Changes in the target for the overnight rate influence other interest rates, such as those for consumer loans and mortgages. They can also affect the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar.

In November 2000, the Bank introduced a system of eight fixed dates each year on which it announces whether or not it will change the policy interest rate.

For more information about the target for the overnight rate, refer to: Backgrounder - Target for the Overnight Rate

Monetary Policy Research and Reference Material

Browse Bank of Canada articles, research papers and publications related to monetary policy.

Exchange Rates Research and Reference Material

Browse Bank of Canada articles, research papers and publications related to exchange rates.

Blackout Guidelines

"Blackout" Guidelines for Communications around Fixed Announcement Dates.

Schedule for 2020

Dates Publications
January 22 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
March 4 Interest rate announcement
April 15 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
June 3 Interest rate announcement
July 15 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
September 9 Interest rate announcement
October 28 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
December 9 Interest rate announcement

Schedule for 2021

Dates Publications
January 20 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
March 10 Interest rate announcement
April 21 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
June 9 Interest rate announcement
July 14 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
September 8 Interest rate announcement
October 27 Interest rate announcement and Monetary Policy Report
December 8 Interest rate announcement

A History of the Key Interest Rate

Over the years, the Bank of Canada has adjusted the way it sets its key interest rate. Following is a brief history of the key rate from the Bank's founding in 1935 until the present.

Bank Rate


  • March 1935 to November 1956
    The original key interest rate was the Bank Rate. This is the minimum rate of interest that the Bank of Canada charges on one-day loans to financial institutions. Between March 1935 and November 1956, the Bank Rate was fixed, set directly by the Bank.
  • November 1956 to June 1962
    The Bank Rate became a floating rate, set at 25 basis points above the average yield on 3-month treasury bills at the federal government's weekly auction.
  • June 1962 to March 1980
    The Bank Rate was again fixed, set directly by the Bank.
  • March 1980 to February 1996
    The Bank Rate was returned to a floating rate, set at 25 basis points above the average yield on 3-month treasury bills at the federal government's weekly auction.
  • 22 February 1996 to Present
    Since 1996, the Bank Rate has been set by the Bank at the top of its operating band for the overnight rate (see next column.) This provides a clearer indicator of monetary policy intentions, because the Bank's influence on the overnight rate is more direct than on 3-month treasury bill rates.
  • December 2000
    The Bank began setting the level of the Bank Rate—and with it, the target for the overnight rate—on eight fixed dates per year.

From the Bank Rate to the "Target for the Overnight Rate"


  • June 1994

    The Bank began shifting emphasis from the Bank Rate to the target for the overnight rate as its key monetary policy instrument.

    This shift followed the Bank's introduction of a 50-basis-point "operating band" for the overnight rate, which is the rate at which major participants in the money market borrow and lend one-day (or overnight) funds among themselves.

    At that time, the Bank used daily adjustments in the level of settlement balances to set a "target level" for the overnight rate within the operating band. Specifically, the Bank would intervene with PRA and SPRA when the overnight rate hit the top or bottom of the operating band.

  • February 1999

    With the advent of the Large Value Transfer System (LVTS), the target for the overnight rate was defined as the midpoint of the band, or 25 basis points below the Bank Rate.

    The shift in emphasis toward the target for the overnight rate was clearly communicated to the markets with the launch of the LVTS.

  • May 2001

    The Bank began emphasizing the target as its key interest rate in its communications with the public.

    Because the target affects the interest rates that financial institutions charge each other from day to day, it usually affects other interest rates, such as mortgages and consumer loans.

    The target for the overnight rate is also the most appropriate policy rate for international comparisons; for example, with the target for the federal funds rate in the United States and with the two-week repo rate in the United Kingdom.

Implementation of Fixed Announcement Dates

A New System of Fixed Dates for Announcing Changes to the Bank Rate

In November 2000, the Bank of Canada introduced a new system of eight "fixed" or pre-specified dates each year for announcing any changes to the official interest rate it uses to implement monetary policy. This paper describes the basic features of the proposed approach, elaborates its key advantages and identifies issues for consultation.

Summary of Consultation Results

On 19 September 2000, the Bank of Canada published details of its plan to adopt a new system of eight “fixed” or pre-specified dates each year for announcing any changes to the official interest rate that it uses to implement monetary policy. Before finalizing and implementing the specific calendar of fixed dates, including the day of the week and time of day for announcements, the Bank invited interested Canadians to provide their views on the new fixed-date system.

Market Operations Indicators

A table of indicators related to the implementation of monetary policy that includes the operating band, settlement balances and other Bank of Canada operations.