When the Bank of Canada was first established in 1935, it had two very different models to choose from—the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve—in terms of the instruments that it might use for implementing monetary policy. Although some aspects of the Bank's early monetary policy practices, including the role of discount facilities and moral suasion, reflect the British example, other important differences shaped a distinctly Canadian approach. Chant describes what he argues are distinctively Canadian innovations: the Bank's favoured means of managing chartered bank liquidity through transfers of government deposits, the adoption of lagged reserve requirements, and the two periods in which it decided to float the Bank Rate. He also describes the series of bold initiatives that were undertaken in the 1990s with regard to simplifying clearing and settlement procedures, reducing reserve requirements, and setting the Bank's target for the overnight rate. Chant suggests that these changes have improved market efficiency, reduced risk and uncertainty, and strengthened the Bank's influence over its short-term operating target.
Counterfeiting poses a significant public policy issue because of the important role that paper money plays in Canada's payments system. Yet the threat of counterfeiting in all economies has increased markedly in the past decade as a result of technological advances to photocopiers and computer printers. An appropriate pubic policy response is thus necessary to maintain the public's continued confidence in the national currency. To assess the threat from counterfeiting, including possible loss of confidence in the currency, estimating the stock of counterfeits circulating is necessary. In this article, Chant proposes a composite method of detecting counterfeits as an effective alternative to existing methods and offers estimates of the extent of counterfeiting Canadian currency for 2001. An Addendum to the article summarizes Chant's methods and updates the calculations to 2003.
During the 1990s the Bank of Canada made several changes that transformed its conduct of monetary policy. In the 1960s and 1970s, policy decisions were made in an environment characterized by instrument opaqueness and goal opaqueness, which tended to shield the Bank's operations from scrutiny and accountability. Since the 1970s the Bank has moved towards transparency and openness by rejecting multiple policy instruments and adopting a single, well-defined goal of inflation control.
A recent survey has shown that the Bank of Canada is in the middle range of central banks with regard to its transparency and has lost points for not publishing the forecasts that shape its policy or the minutes and voting records of its governing body. Chant suggests that the public has benefited significantly from the changes the Bank has made, but that it should continue to support research on the benefits of low and stable inflation and continually inform other policy-makers and the public of the results.