Bank of Canada launches public consultation for new $5 banknote

A public consultation to choose an iconic Canadian to be the next face of Canada’s $5 banknote was launched today by the Bank of Canada.

The call for nominations is similar to the bank’s 2016 campaign that resulted in the selection of Black rights activist Viola Desmond as the portrait subject of the vertical $10 banknote, which won the Bank Note of the Year Award from the International Bank Note Society.

For the new $5 note, Canadians can submit nominations by using the Bank of Canada’s submission form before March 11. Like the $10 note, the new $5 note will also have a vertical design. It’s expected to take three to four years to finalize the design and then produce and issue the new note.

“When we launched the last round of consultations, we never could have anticipated the enthusiasm of Canadians, both for the process or for the historic banknote that featured a Canadian woman for the first time, civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “We’re excited to see who the public will nominate for the $5 banknote and look forward to celebrating another incredible Canadian.”

Bank Governor Stephen Poloz, who recently announced his intention to forgo a second term as the bank’s governor after his seven-year term expires this June, is encouraging all Canadians to nominate people who have inspired them and to talk about their achievements.

“This open call for nominations is another great opportunity to highlight the many stories of heroes, sometimes unsung ones, who have helped shape the Canada we live in today,” he added. “I hope this process sparks conversations and encourages us all to learn more about our great country and its remarkable people.”


Canada’s first francophone prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier is the current face of the country’s $5 bill. The remaining notes ($20, $50 and $100) of the bank’s as-of-yet-unnamed eighth series will follow every two or three years. While Laurier will be honoured on one of these higher-value denominations when they’re redesigned, other faces – like those of William Lyon Mackenzie King and Sir Robert Borden – will no longer be portrayed on Canadian banknotes. The $20 bill will continue to feature the reigning monarch.


An independent advisory council composed of eminent people from academia, the cultural sector and civil society will review all nominations who meet the criteria outlined below.

With the support of historical and public opinion research, the advisory council will develop a shortlist of candidates for submission to the finance minister, who will announce his decision on the portrait subject of the new $5 banknote later this year.

The Bank of Canada will then begin the design process for the new banknote.

Nominees must:

  • be a Canadian by birth or naturalization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada or in the service of Canada;
  • have been deceased for at least 25 years (before March 11, 1995); and
  • not be a fictional character.

Up to five names can be submitted on each submission form. Participants can return to the form to submit more names if they so choose. Participants are also invited to suggest images and symbols they associate with their nominees.

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