The $5 note was issued in December 1972. The portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the face of the note was engraved by C. Gordon Yorke.

In 1979, the $5 note was reissued with the serial numbers moved to the back of the notes. A small change was also made to the guilloche pattern at the centre top of the face of the $5 note to make the numeral more distinct.

The vignette on the back was engraved by George Gunderson and deepened by Yorke. Based on a photograph by George Hunter, the image features a salmon seiner in Johnstone Strait, northeast of Vancouver Island. The note was printed by Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd.