What is a Digital Canadian Dollar?
Simply put, a Digital Canadian Dollar would be a digital form of the cash in your wallet. Like cash, it could buy the things you need. But the advantage is that you could also use it for online purchases and to transfer money between family and friends. And businesses could use it to pay each other.
This new form of money would be issued by the Bank of Canada and provide benefits similar to cash: it would be safe, accessible to everyone and private.
However, a digital dollar would not replace cash. Our responsibility is to provide Canadians with bank notes they can trust. We’ve done this for almost 90 years, and we’re committed to issuing bank notes for as long as Canadians want them.
Why we’re researching a digital dollar
In an era of rapid digitalization, we need to do the necessary work to be ready if Canadians’ payment preferences or needs change. As commerce becomes ever more digital, Canadians should continue to have all the benefits of money issued by the central bank.
Whether and when Canada will need a digital dollar is uncertain. Ultimately, Canadians will decide—through their representatives in Parliament—if a digital dollar should be issued.
How we’re approaching our work on a digital dollar
We want to preserve the features that Canadians value in their bank notes in any future digital dollar. And we want to preserve the same payments choices people have now. That is why we are approaching our work on a digital dollar with a few concepts in mind:
- As with bank notes, Canadians shouldn’t need identification, a bank account or to disclose private information to perform basic financial transactions.
- For those who want the ability to retrieve lost or stolen funds, a digital dollar should allow users to voluntarily provide some form of identification, just as we do now when opening a bank account.
- Canadians have a right to privacy, and any digital dollar must not compromise this right. A digital dollar should maximize privacy and give Canadians full control over their data.
- A digital dollar should help every Canadian, everywhere, participate in the economy. A digital dollar shouldn’t add barriers or reinforce existing ones.
- A digital dollar would complement bank notes, not replace them. We will continue to provide bank notes so people who prefer cash can continue to use it.
How we’re listening to Canadians
We make better decisions when we speak with and listen to the people we serve. As we do the necessary research, we are engaging with Canadians, stakeholders and advocacy groups across the country to learn about how they use different forms of money—like bank notes issued and backed by the central bank—and how that could evolve in the future.
You will have more opportunities to tell us what you think about a digital dollar. Going forward, we will continue to engage Canadians and publicly report on our progress. In 2024, we will engage stakeholders on the following topics:
- accessibility and inclusion
- security and technology
- digital dollar ecosystem
- financial stability