Bank of Canada values and prices of 2011 to 2020 banknotes
This is the first time that a series of Canadian bank notes are printed on any material but paper. Bank notes printed on polymer are already in circulation elsewhere. Internationally, the first non-paper notes were produced on a polyethylene material called Tyvek and issued in three countries in the early 1980s. Canada's new notes are unlike other polymer notes, however.
In addition to the security provided by the clear windows used in most polymer notes to capitalize on the substrate's transparency, notes in the Polymer series are the first to have a stripe of holographic foil. The images on the foil, which is placed in a large vertical window, are large, brilliant and complex, and the details and colours can be seen clearly from both sides of the note. A second, smaller window contains a frosted area that, when viewed against a single-point light source, shows a circle of numbers matching the note's value.
Traditional security features, such as fine-line printing (which produces even sharper images on polymer than on paper) and the intaglio process for printing raised ink, give the new notes a unique look and feel. The new notes also carry innovative features designed to be "seen" only by note-handling equipment to ensure that these machines can authenticate the notes. The Polymer series also retains the features contained in the current Canadian Journey series to help the blind and partially sighted to identify notes. These features large numerals against contrasting backgrounds, dominant colour schemes, codes that can be read by an electronic reader supplied to the blind, and a system of raised dots in a different pattern for each denomination were assessed in an independent study commissioned by the Bank in 2008, after the Canadian Journey series had been in circulation for several years. The assessment, conducted by the University of Waterloo in collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, concluded that the suite of features effectively met the needs of users with a range of visual impairment.5 Two areas for improvement were suggested, and both have been addressed in the new notes. The electronic reader will now work on both ends of the notes and, thanks to the characteristics of the polymer substrate, the raised dots will last longer in circulation.