Federal Government To Remove Legal Tender Status From Many Old Bank Notes

Series of bank notes issued between 1935 and 1986 will lose legal tender status on January 1, 2021.

A series of bank notes issued between 1935 and 1986 will soon lose their status as legal tender.

$1, $2, $25, $500, and $1000 bank notes from that time will no longer be recognized as of January 1, 2021.

Here’s what the Bank of Canada said in a statement:

“The Government of Canada now has the power to remove legal tender status from bank notes—something it could not do before. Effective January 1, 2021, the Government will remove that designation from certain bank notes that are no longer being produced—the $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 notes— the final step to fully removing them as transactional notes in Canada. This initiative is supported by the Bank of Canada.”

The Bank says the notes – even after legal tender status is removed – can be redeemed for new notes of equal face value:

“In short, removing legal tender status means that some older bank notes will no longer have the official status of being approved for payments of debt. Essentially, that means you will no longer be able to spend that 1935 $25 bank note to buy items at a store. But these bank notes will not lose their face value. If you have any of them, you will still be able to take them to your financial institution or send them to the Bank of Canada to redeem their value.”

Below, you can view the notes that will be stripped of their legal tender status:

The first series (1935)

The bilingual series (1937)

Canadian Landscape series (1954)

Scenes of Canada series (1969–79)





Birds of Canada series (1986)



Government shouldn’t have this power

Personally, I oppose the government having the power to remove the legal tender status of bank notes, and not just because many of the notes above look far better than the new notes issued today.

The real concern is that giving the government the power to simply declare notes invalid is going too far, particularly in the context of the move by government’s around the world to eliminate the use of cash.

Elitist politicians are obsessed with having control over every transaction, and seeing what every Canadian is doing with their money, and the attempt to wipe out cash is a step in a dangerous direction when it comes to the privacy and financial independence of the Canadian People.

Many countries manage just fine without giving their government’s the power to declare notes invalid, and there is no good reason for Canada to be making this change.

If anything, we should be encouraging the use of more cash overall, as it provides an important tangible backup to the incredibly vulnerable computer-based financial system.

The endless move towards more and more convenience (aka electronic financial transactions) has created a system that – while efficient – could be collapsed or brought down in one swift move, a vulnerability that cash does not have. While we obviously won’t be going back to using cash for the majority of transactions, we still need to keep it around, and we should oppose government efforts to interfere with that.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – Screengrab (Bank of Canada)