|This article is outdated. (January 2013)|
|Dollar Canadien (French)|
|ISO 4217 code||CAD|
|Central bank||Bank of Canada|
|Unofficial user(s)||Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France) (alongside the euro)|
|Source||Statistics Canada, 2012.|
|1/100||Cent (English) and sou (colloquial) (French)|
|Symbol||$ or C$ or CAD$|
|Cent (English) and sou (colloquial) (French)||¢|
|Nickname||Loonie, buck (English)
Huard, piastre (pronounced piasse in popular usage) (French)
|Freq. used||5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1, $2|
|Rarely used||1¢, 50¢|
|Freq. used||$5, $10, $20, $50, $100|
|Printer||Canadian Bank Note Company|
|Mint||Royal Canadian Mint|
The Canadian dollar (sign: $; code: CAD) is the currency of Canada. As of 2012, the Canadian dollar is the 6th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents.
In 1841, the Province of Canada adopted a new system based on the Halifax rating. The new Canadian pound was equal to four US dollars (92.88 grains gold), making one pound sterling equal to 1 pound, 4 shillings, and 4 pence Canadian. Thus, the new Canadian pound was worth 16 shillings and 5.3 pence.
The 1850s was a decade of wrangling over whether to adopt a sterling monetary system or a decimal monetary system based on the US dollar. The local population, for reasons of practicality in relation to the increasing trade with the neighbouring United States, had a desire to assimilate their colonial currency with the American unit, but the imperial authorities in London still preferred sterling as the sole currency throughout the British Empire. In 1851, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly passed an act for the purposes of introducing a pound sterling unit in conjunction with decimal fractional coinage. The idea was that the decimal coins would correspond to exact amounts in relation to the US dollar fractional coinage.
As a compromise, in 1853 an act of the Legislative Council and Assembly of the Province of Canada introduced the gold standard into the colony, based on both the British gold sovereign and the American gold eagle coins. This gold standard was introduced with the gold sovereign being legal tender at £1 = $US4.86 2⁄3. No coinage was provided for under the 1853 act. Sterling coinage was made legal tender and all other silver coins were demonetized. The British government in principle allowed for a decimal coinage but nevertheless held out the hope that a sterling unit would be chosen under the name of "royal". However, in 1857, the decision was made to introduce a decimal coinage into the Province of Canada in conjunction with the US dollar unit. Hence, when the new decimal coins were introduced in 1858, the colony's currency became aligned with the US currency, although the British gold sovereign continued to remain legal tender at the rate of £1 = 4.86 2⁄3 right up until the 1990s. In 1859, Canadian colonial postage stamps were issued with decimal denominations for the first time.
In 1861, the colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia followed the colony of Canada in adopting a decimal system based on the US dollar unit. In the following year, Canadian colonial postage stamps were issued with the denominations shown in dollars and cents.
Newfoundland went decimal in 1865, but unlike the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, it decided to adopt a unit based on the Spanish dollar rather than on the US dollar, and there was a slight difference between these two units. The US dollar was created in 1792 on the basis of the average weight of a selection of worn Spanish dollars. As such, the Spanish dollar was worth slightly more than the US dollar, and likewise, the Newfoundland dollar while it existed, was worth slightly more than the Canadian colonial dollar.
In 1867, the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia were united in a federation called the Dominion of Canada and the three currencies were merged into the Canadian dollar.
In 1871, Prince Edward Island went decimal within the US dollar unit and introduced coins for 1¢. However, the currency of Prince Edward Island was absorbed into the Canadian system shortly afterwards, when Prince Edward island joined the Dominion of Canada in 1873.
|Currencies used in Canada and its predecessors|
|Currency||Dates in use||Value in British pounds||Value in Canadian dollars|
|Canadian pound||1841–1858||16s 5.3d||$4|
|Canadian dollar||1858–present||4s 1.3d||$1|
|New Brunswick dollar||1860–1867|
|British Columbia dollar||1865–1871|
|Prince Edward Island dollar||1871–1873|
|Nova Scotian dollar||1860–1871||4s||$0.973|
|Newfoundland dollar||1865–1895||4s 2d||$1.014|
The Canadian Parliament passed the Uniform Currency Act in April 1871, tying up loose ends as to the currencies of the various provinces and replacing them with a common Canadian dollar. The gold standard was temporarily abandoned during the First World War and definitively abolished on April 10, 1933. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the exchange rate to the US dollar was fixed at C$1.10 = US$1.00. This was changed to parity in 1946. In 1949, sterling was devalued and Canada followed, returning to a peg of C$1.10 = US$1.00. However, Canada allowed its dollar to float in 1950, returning to a fixed exchange rate only in 1962, when the dollar was pegged at C$1.00 = US$0.925. This peg lasted until 1970, after which the currency's value has floated.
Canadian English, like American English, uses the slang term "buck" for a dollar. The Canadian origin of this term derives from a coin struck by the Hudson's Bay Company during the 17th century with a value equal to the pelt of a male beaver – a "buck". Because of the appearance of the common loon on the back of the dollar coin that replaced the dollar bill in 1987, the word "loonie" was adopted in Canadian parlance to distinguish the Canadian dollar coin from the dollar bill. When the two-dollar coin was introduced in 1996, the derivative word "toonie" ("two loonies") became the common word for it in Canadian English slang. The term "loonie" is frequently used for the Canadian dollar as a currency, as opposed to the American dollar.
In French, the currency is also called le dollar; Canadian French slang terms include piastre or piasse (the original word used in 18th-century French to translate "dollar") and huard (equivalent to "loonie", since huard is French for "loon," the bird appearing on the coin). The French pronunciation of "cent" (pronounced similarly to English as /sɛnt/ or /sɛn/, not like the word for hundred, /sɑ̃/ or /sã/) is generally used for the subdivision; sou is another, informal, term for 1¢. 25¢ coins in Quebec French are often called trente sous (thirty cents) because of a series of changes in terminology, currencies, and exchange rates. After the British conquest of Canada in 1759, French coins gradually went out of use, and sou became a nickname for the halfpenny, which was similar in value to the French sou. Spanish dollars and US dollars were also in use, and from 1841 to 1858, the exchange rate was fixed at $4 = £1 (or 400¢ = 240d). This made 25¢ equal to 15d, or 30 halfpence (trente sous). After decimalization and the withdrawal of halfpence coins, the nickname sou began to be used for the 1¢ coin, but the idiom trente sous for 25¢ endured.
Coins are produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently issued in denominations of 5¢ (nickel), 10¢ (dime), 25¢ (quarter), 50¢ (50¢ piece) (though the 50¢ piece is rarely used in most provinces), $1 (loonie), and $2 (toonie). The last 1¢ (penny) to be minted in Canada was struck on Friday, May 4, 2012. Ever since, when paying in cash, the price is rounded to the nearest nickel. The Royal Canadian Mint has copyrighted these coins.
The standard set of designs has Canadian symbols, usually wildlife, on the reverse, and an effigy of Elizabeth II on the obverse. However, some pennies, nickels, and dimes remain in circulation that bear the effigy of George VI. It is also common for American coins to be found among circulation due to the close proximity to the United States & how the sizes of the coins are similar. Commemorative coins with differing reverses are also issued on an irregular basis, most often Quarters. 50¢ coins are rarely found in circulation; they are often collected and not regularly used in day-to-day transactions in most provinces.
In 1858, bronze 1¢ and 0.925 silver 5¢, 10¢ and 20¢ coins were issued by the Province of Canada. Except for 1¢ coins struck in 1859, no more coins were issued until 1870, when production of the 5¢ and 10¢ was resumed and silver 25¢ and 50¢ were introduced. Between 1908 and 1919, sovereigns (legal tender in Canada for $4.86 2⁄3) were struck in Ottawa with a "C" mintmark. Gold $5 and $10 coins were issued between 1912 and 1914.
In 1920, the size of the 1¢ was reduced and the silver fineness of the 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ coins was reduced to 0.800 silver/.200 copper. This composition was maintained for the 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ piece through 1966, but the debasement of the 5¢ piece continued in 1922 with the silver 5¢ being entirely replaced by a larger nickel coin. In 1942, as a wartime measure, nickel was replaced by tombac in the 5¢ coin, which was changed in shape from round to dodecagonal. Chromium-plated steel was used for the 5¢ in 1944 and 1945 and between 1951 and 1954, after which nickel was readopted. The 5¢ returned to a round shape in 1963.
In 1935, the 0.800 silver Voyageur dollar was introduced. Production was maintained through 1967 with the exception of the war years between 1939 and 1945.
In 1967 both 0.800 silver/0.200 copper and, later that year, 0.500 silver/.500 copper 10¢ and 25¢ coins were issued. 1968 saw further debasement: the 0.500 fine silver dimes and quarters were completely replaced by nickel ones mid-year. All 1968 50¢ and $1 coins were reduced in size and coined only in pure nickel. Thus, 1968 marked the last year in which any circulating silver coinage was issued in Canada.
In 1982, the 1¢ coin was changed to dodecagonal and the 5¢ was further debased to a cupro-nickel alloy. In 1987, a $1 coin struck in aureate-plated nickel was introduced. A bimetallic $2 coin followed in 1996. In 1997, copper-plated zinc replaced bronze in the 1¢. This was followed, in 2000, by the introduction of even cheaper plated-steel 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ coins, with the 1¢ plated in copper and the others plated in cupro-nickel. In 2012, the multi-ply plated-steel technology was introduced for $1 and $2 coins as well.
The first paper money issued in Canada denominated in dollars were British Army bills, issued between 1813 and 1815. Canadian dollar bank notes were later issued by the chartered banks starting in the 1830s, by several pre-confederation colonial governments (most notably the Province of Canada in 1866), and after confederation, by the Dominion of Canada starting in 1870. Some municipalities also issued notes, most notably depression scrip during the 1930s.
In 1935, with only 10 chartered banks still issuing notes, the Bank of Canada was founded. It took over the federal issuance of notes from the Dominion of Canada. It began issuing notes in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $25, $50, $100, $500 and $1000. In 1944, the chartered banks were prohibited from issuing their own currency, with the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal among the last to issue notes.
Significant design changes to the notes have occurred since 1935, with new series introduced in 1937, 1954, 1970, 1986, and 2001. In June 2011, newly designed notes printed on a polymer substrate, as opposed to cotton fibre, were announced; the first of these polymer notes, the $100 bill, began circulation in November 2011, the $50 bill began circulation in March 2012, the $20 denomination began circulation in November 2012, and the $5 and $10 denominations will begin circulation by late 2013.
All banknotes are currently printed by two Ottawa, Ontario base companies, Canadian Bank Note Company and BA International Incorporated (founded 1866 as British American Bank Note Company and now division of Giesecke & Devrient GmbH of Munich, Germany), under contract to the Bank of Canada. In 2011, BA International announced it would shutter its banknote printing business and cease printing banknotes at the end of 2012.
Canadian dollar banknotes issued by the Bank of Canada are legal tender in Canada. However, commercial transactions may legally be settled in any manner agreed by the parties involved.
Retailers in Canada may refuse bank notes without breaking the law. According to legal guidelines, the method of payment has to be mutually agreed upon by the parties involved with the transactions. For example, stores may refuse $100 bank notes if they feel that would put them at risk of being counterfeit victims; however, official policy suggests that the retailers should evaluate the impact of that approach. In the case that no mutually acceptable form of payment can be found for the tender, the parties involved should seek legal advice.
Canadian dollars, especially coins, are accepted by some businesses in the northernmost cities of the United States and in many Canadian snowbird enclaves, just as US dollars are accepted by some Canadian businesses.
In 2012, Iceland began to consider adopting the Canadian dollar as a stable alternative to the Icelandic krona.  although it ultimately decided not to move to the next stage with the proposal.
Unlike other currencies in the Bretton Woods system, whose values were fixed, the Canadian dollar was allowed to float from 1950 to 1962. Between 1952 and 1960, the Canadian dollar traded at a slight premium over the US dollar, reaching a high of US$1.0614 on August 20, 1957.
The Canadian dollar fell considerably after 1960, and this contributed to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's defeat in the 1963 election. The Canadian dollar returned to a fixed exchange rate regime in 1962 when its value was set at US$0.925, where it remained until 1970.
As an inflation-fighting measure, the Canadian dollar was allowed to float in 1970. Its value appreciated and it was worth more than the US dollar for part of the 1970s. The high point was on April 25, 1974, when it reached US$1.0443.
The Canadian dollar fell in value against its American counterpart during the technological boom of the 1990s that was centred in the United States, and was traded for as little as $0.6179¢ US on January 21, 2002, which was an all-time low. Since then, its value against all major currencies has risen due, in part, to high prices for commodities (especially oil) that Canada exports.
The CAD's value against the US dollar rose sharply in 2007 because of the continued strength of the Canadian economy and the US currency's weakness on world markets. During trading on September 20, 2007 it met the US dollar at parity for the first time since November 25, 1976.
Inflation in the value of the Canadian dollar has been fairly low since the 1990s. In 2007 the Canadian dollar rebounded remarkably, soaring 23% in value.
On September 28, 2007, the Canadian dollar closed above the US dollar for the first time in 30 years, at US$1.0052.  On November 7, 2007, it hit US$1.1024 during trading, a modern-day high after China announced it would diversify its US$1.43 trillion foreign exchange reserve away from the US dollar. (The dollar has been as high as US$2.78, reached on July 11, 1864 after the United States had temporarily abandoned the gold standard.) By November 30, however, the Canadian dollar was once again at par with the US dollar, and on December 4, the dollar had retreated back to US$0.98, through a cut in interest rates made by the Bank of Canada due to concerns about exports to the US.
Since 84.2% of Canada's exports go and 56.7% of imports into Canada come from the US Canadians are interested in the value of their currency mainly against the US dollar. Although domestic concerns arise when the dollar trades much lower than its US counterpart, there is also concern among exporters when the dollar appreciates quickly. The rapid rise in the value of the dollar increases the price of Canadian exports to the US. On the other hand, there are advantages to a rising dollar, in that it is cheaper for Canadian industries to purchase foreign material and businesses.
The rise in value has affected the book and book publishing industry, where buyers have been accustomed to fixed prices on the backs of their books: one for the Canadian market and another one for the American market.
The Bank of Canada has no specific target value for the Canadian dollar and has not intervened in foreign exchange markets since 1998. The Bank's official position is that market conditions should determine the worth of the Canadian dollar, although the BoC occasionally makes minor attempts to influence its value.
On world markets, the Canadian dollar historically tended to move in tandem with the US dollar. An apparently rising Canadian dollar (against the US dollar) was decreasing against other international currencies; however, during the rise of the Canadian dollar since 2002, it has gained value against the US dollar as well as other international currencies. In recent years, dramatic fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar have tended to correlate with shifts in oil prices, reflecting the dollar's status as a petrocurrency owing to Canada's significant oil exports.
|Rank||Currency||ISO 4217 code
| % daily share
|United States dollar||
|Hong Kong dollar||
|New Zealand dollar||
|South Korean won||
In the economy of the Americas, the Canadian dollar plays a similar role to the one that the Australian dollar (AUD) does in the Asia-Pacific region. The Canadian dollar (as a regional reserve currency for banking) has been an important part of the British, French and Dutch Caribbean state's economies and finance systems since the 1950s. The Canadian dollar is held by many central banks in Central America and South America as well. The holding of the Canadian dollar in Latin America is done so because of each nation's nationally important issues of remittances and international trade.
By observing how the Canadian dollar behaves against the US dollar, foreign exchange economists can indirectly observe internal behaviours and patterns in the US economy that could not be seen by direct observation. The Canadian dollar has fully evolved into a global reserve currency only since the 1970s, when it was floated against all other world currencies. Some economists have attributed the rise of importance of the Canadian dollar to the long term effects of the Nixon Shock that effectively ended the Bretton Woods system of global finance.
|Current CAD exchange rates|
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