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Accessibility features

By Bank of Canada | Friday, February 11, 2011

Several features in the Canadian Journey and Birds of Canada bank note series are designed to help blind and visually impaired Canadians recognize bank note denominations either by touch, by sight, or by electronic signal. These design elements are not security features and should not be used to authenticate bank notes.

The tactile feature - Bank notesThe tactile feature The tactile feature is located in the upper right corner on the face of Canadian Journey series notes. It consists of a series of symbols formed by groupings of six raised dots separated by a smooth surface. Each symbol is composed of two columns of three raised dots. These dots are embossed and back-coated to enhance their durability. These symbols are not Braille: they are a system developed in consultation with blind and visually impaired Canadians after research indicated that not all potential users read Braille.

The number and position of these symbols vary according to the denomination. The $5 note has one symbol, the $10 note has two symbols separated by a smooth surface, the new $20 note has three symbols separated by two smooth surfaces, and the $50 note has four symbols separated by three smooth surfaces. Like the $10 note, the new $100 bank note has two symbols, but the smooth surface or space between them is wider.

Large high-contrast numerals - Bank notesLarge high-contrast numerals that identify the note's denomination appear on both sides of each note. A dark numeral on a pale background appears on the front, and a white numeral against a dark background appears on the back.

The colours of the various denominations, and the contrast between them, are similar to those used for previous series.

Bank note readerThe Bank of Canada provides a bank note reader that helps the blind and visually impaired to determine the denominations of the Canadian Journey and Birds of Canada series through machine-readable codes. This hand-held device is able to inform the user of the bank note denomination in one of three user-selected ways: voice (English or French), tone, or vibration. Bank note readers are available free of charge through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

An upgrade to the bank note reader following the introduction of new high-denomination Canadian bank notes is currently available through your local CNIB office. This upgrade requires only a few minutes to complete and will not affect the current functionality of your bank note reader. Please contact your local CNIB office to arrange an appointment.

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