Sitting on a few $1,000 bills? Have a long lost $25 bill stuffed somewhere in your sock drawer? Dig them out because the government wants them back.
Tuesday’s budget calls for a process to remove the legal tender status of bank note denominations no longer issued by the Bank of Canada — that includes the $1,000, $500, $25, $2, and $1 bills.
More than $1 billion worth of the soon-to-be withdrawn currency was still in circulation at the end of 2017, according to the Bank of Canada. This included more than 740,000 of the $1,000 bills, which were last issued in May, 2000.
While you may no longer be able to spend them at your favourite store, the bills affected by the government’s plan can still be turned in to a financial institution, at least for the time being. After that, the Bank of Canada will continue to honour these bills and exchange them at their face value.
Only 40 of the $500 bills, worth a combined $20,000, are still in circulation, according to the central bank. The large-denomination legal tender, along with a $25 bill, were commemorative bills issued in 1935.
The $1 bill was withdrawn in June of 1989, and the $2 bill was pulled almost seven years later. They were replaced by coins nicknamed the loonie and the toonie.
Among the reasons the government now wants to take the withdrawn bills out of circulation is that newer bank notes have better security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.
Another, perhaps more practical reason was given by the Bank of Canada in a background document: “Some people do not recognize them, which means they likely would not be accepted in transactions.”