Though the Bank of Canada unveiled the first two banknotes in their upcoming polymer series last month, Canadians will still have several months to wait until the new $50 and $100 bills are introduced into circulation. Much like other currency campaigns, the Bank of Canada will use the interim months to educated banks, businesses and consumers about the upcoming changes to the banknotes.
The research and development it takes to create new banknotes before they are revealed to the public can take years of work. The group tasked with such a job is the Bank of Canada’s Currency Development Team.
“The work of the Bank of Canada’s Currency Development Team includes constantly evaluating possible counterfeiting threats and new security features. Security is always the driving force behind issuing new bank notes, and being on top of leading-edge features is essential,” said an article published in Exchange Magazine. “A new series takes several years to develop and test. The Polymer series was about five years in the making and it took a team of engineers, chemists, physicists, researchers, artists and analysts at the Bank and its partners to bring it to life.”
While developing the new banknote series, the Currency Development Team takes several aspects into consideration. The group consults with retailers, police agencies, and financial institutions – among others – and also considers the environmental impact of new banknotes.
Of course, a large amount of time in the research and development stage is dedicated to security features.
“Staying ahead of counterfeiting is definitely a unique aspect of our job,” Ted Garanzotis, the team’s Senior Scientific Adviser, told Express.
The design of the note can also play a big role in securitizing the banknotes.
“The $100s have two portraits of prime minister Robert Borden – a large one and a smaller, metallic one above an image of Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower in a clear band running through the note,” the Canadian Press said of the newly revealed note. “On the other side, there’s an image of a person at a microscope, a strand of DNA, an electrocardiogram, a bottle of insulin and the words ‘medical innovation.’”
This series was a little different for the Currency Development Team as this marks the first time Canada will be using banknotes made with plastic substrates in lieu of cotton. Polymer banknotes are also more durable than paper banknotes – a big selling point for the switch.
“Safer, cheaper and greener; these new bank notes are a 21st-century achievement in which all Canadians can take pride and place their confidence,” said Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.
The Bank of Canada expects the new bills to last 2.5 times longer than the paper notes, The Canadian Press said.
Exchange Magazine: “Leading The Charge-Researching and Developing Canada’s Polymer Bank Notes.”
Winnipeg Free Press: “Bank Of Canada Unveils Plastic $100 and $50 Bills”
Edmonton Journal: “Carney’s $100 Idea: Make Cash Plastic, Too”