$ 1, $ 2 in Canadian bills set to lose legal tender status in 2021

TORONTO – All Canadians who have old paper bills in their wallets have until the end of the year to use them in daily transactions before merchants no longer have to accept them.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) issued a reminder Thursday that hundreds of millions of $ 1, $ 2, $ 25, $ 500, and $ 1,000 bills will have legal tender removed starting January 1, 2021.

However, the bank says the decision to remove legal tender status from these notes will have little impact on most Canadians.

“Most Canadians will not be interested because the notes targeted by this announcement have not been produced in decades and are rarely used in transactions,” the BoC said in a statement.

The BoC noted that stores can still accept these invoices as payment if they wish.

“Money is not just banknotes, but it takes many different forms: credit cards, debit cards, checks and contactless payments via mobile devices. You can pay with any of these forms of money, even if they are not considered legal tender” “,” the BoC said.

Although these rare banknotes will lose their status in the coming weeks, that doesn’t mean the banknotes are suddenly worthless.

Canadians with these outdated banknotes can take them to their financial institution or send them to the BoC to redeem them for their face value. The bank added that people can also choose to keep older banknotes as souvenirs.

However, there may be more money to be made by selling the rarer banknotes to collectors.

The $ 500 bill is one of the rarest bills, and with just over three dozen bills in existence, they are extremely difficult to find. The value of an invoice can range from $ 20,000 to $ 60,000 depending on its condition, according to the Canada Currency website.

Other rare bills, such as the $ 25 bill, can also fetch thousands of dollars.


The $ 1 and $ 2 bills stopped being issued in 1989 and 1996, respectively, and were replaced with loonie and toonie. Five versions of these banknotes were produced before they were withdrawn from circulation.

The only $ 25 banknotes in circulation were issued as commemorative notes in 1935 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of King George V’s ascension to the throne. Both it and the $ 500 note were discontinued shortly after they were issued in 1935.

The BoC produced four versions of the $ 1,000 bill before retiring it in 2000.

The latest count of affected invoices outstanding by the BoC, since the end of 2019, is as follows:

  • Invoice $ 1: 150,230,000

  • Invoice from $ 2: 103,036,000

  • $ 25 bill: 1,840

  • Bill from $ 500: 40

  • $ 1,000 Invoice: 632,019

These numbers do not include any banknotes issued by the Dominion of Canada, individual provinces or defunct or incorporated banks.

The removal of legal tender status of these banknotes complies with amendments to the Bank of Canada Act and the Currency Act passed by Parliament in 2018 to remove obsolete banknote denominations from circulation.

The BoC says having the power to remove legal tender status from some banknotes will help the bank do a better job of keeping banknotes in circulation up to date.

“The newer banknotes have better security features that make them difficult to counterfeit and are in better condition overall. Keeping the notes up to date means they work more efficiently for all of us,” the BoC said in the statement.

The BoC notes that “many other countries” have been doing this for years with more than 20 central banks around the world having the power to remove legal tender status from their notes, including the Bank of England, Sveriges. Riksbank in Sweden, the Swiss National Bank and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

The federal government has indicated that it has no plans to withdraw any more banknotes from circulation at this time.


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