NEWS: Around the Arctic March 27, 2012 - 5:00 am

New $50 bills are “safer, cheaper, and greener”

Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen featured on new bill


Postmedia News

The Bank of Canada announced the entry of a new “safer, cheaper, and greener” $50 bill into circulation Monday.

“The banknotes themselves have crossed a technological frontier. There is simply no other currency like it,” Bank of Canada Gov. Mark Carney said during an event at the Canadian Coast Guard’s Quebec port facility.

The new bill, which features a portrait of former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King on its front and an image of the Canadian Coast Guard Arctic research vessel Amundsen on its back, uses a unique combination of transparent elements, holographic images and other security features.

“They are the result of innovative technology and Canadian ingenuity, including research by the Bank of Canada and excellent collaboration among physicists, chemists, engineers and other experts in the banknote industry,” Carney said.

Since 2004, counterfeiting rates have gone down by 90 per cent. “Issuing this new series of banknotes enables us to continue to stay ahead of counterfeiters,” Carney said.

Shelly Glover, parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, said: “Canadians can be rightfully proud of these new bank notes. They are an important part of the ongoing fight against counterfeiting, a fight that includes many players including: the Bank of Canada, law-enforcement agencies like the RCMP and the Surete du Quebec, financial institutions and retailers.”

These notes are also more environmentally friendly.

“In addition to impressive security features to combat counterfeiting, these notes will last longer than those made from paper — at least 2 1/2 times longer — and will therefore be more economical and have a smaller environmental footprint,” Carney explained.

When the banknotes are withdrawn from circulation, they will be recycled into other products.

“Safer, cheaper, and greener: indeed, these new bank notes are a 21st century achievement of which all Canadians should be proud and in which they can have full confidence,” Carney said.

As the $50 denomination is used in automated banking machines more often, Canadians were also reminded that each time a new series of banknotes is issued the equipment that processes and dispenses them may require adjustments or upgrades.

The Bank of Canada said it has worked closely with financial institutions and manufacturers of banknote processing equipment to help them make this transition to polymer.

The $20 note will be issued later this year, while the remaining banknotes in the series — the $5 and $10 notes — are to be issued by the end of 2013.