Examine the life of a polymer bank note from production to distribution and recycling.
After you’ve watched this video with your students, use this guide to explore key concepts, check for comprehension and lead a discussion.
- The Bank of Canada designs, produces, distributes and recycles all Canadian bank notes.
- Canada’s notes are made of polymer, a durable plastic specifically made for bank notes.
- Bank notes include security features like holograms to protect against counterfeiting.
- Worn or damaged notes are returned to the Bank of Canada to be shredded and recycled.
Ask the following questions.
What are Canada’s bank notes made of?
Canada’s bank notes are made of durable polymer. Polymer can be used for all sorts of everyday objects, from clothing to electronics, diapers, food packaging and shampoo. The kind of polymer used to print bank notes—not just in Canada but in many other countries too—is a smooth, durable film. Canada was one of the first countries in the world to print its bank notes on polymer. Have you ever seen or used polymer notes in any other countries?
What are some of the features of polymer?
Polymer is durable—it isn’t damaged as easily as paper. A single polymer note lasts 2.5 times longer than a paper bank note, which means that it has less of an environmental impact than paper. It’s also recyclable and allows for innovative security features such as windows, holograms and extremely detailed printing. These features make Canadian bank notes harder to counterfeit.
Why are security features so important for bank notes?
It’s important to trust that your bank note is the real thing. A fake note can mean that a consumer or a business loses money. Security features on bank notes have evolved over the decades as technologies have changed. The more complex the security features are, the more difficult it is for someone to make a counterfeit, or fake bank note, that could be mistaken for a real one.
Ask the following questions.
- What are some features (images, symbols, security features) that you’ve noticed on Canadian bank notes? Why do you think they were included?
- What are some features you’ve noticed on bank notes from other countries? How are they similar to Canadian notes? How are they different?
- What could be done to improve Canadian bank notes for everyone? Think about how accessible they are, who and what they represent, and what impact they have on the environment.
- Are bank notes still important to Canadians? Do you use cash often? What do you think is the future of money in Canada?
- Assessing the Life Cycle of a Bank Note—a lesson plan about the environmental impact of everyday items
- A Bank NOTE-able Canadian—a lesson plan about the portraits and symbols on Canadian bank notes
- Understanding Money: Common Questions—a blog about what money is and what Canadian money looks like
- Security Features on the Vertical $10 Note—information about the security features on Bank of Canada’s newest bank note