Skip to main content

A hologram security feature is seen on the new Canadian 100 dollar bill made of polymer in Toronto November 14, 2011. The Bank of Canada purged the image of an Asian-looking woman from its new $100 banknotes after focus groups raised questions about her ethnicity.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

The highly touted redesign of Canada's $100 bill has come under fire amid revelations that currency designers edited out the ethnicity of a woman depicted on an early draft of the banknote, following complaints from focus groups.

The changes came after the Bank of Canada showed proposed images of the new $100 bill, which entered circulation in November, to focus groups across the country in 2009. According to documents made public by The Canadian Press, participants in focus groups in Fredericton and Montreal objected to a scene on the back of the bill depicting a woman who appeared Asian peering into a microscope.

A member of the Fredericton focus group suggested the image didn't represent Canada, while in Montreal "the inclusion of an Asian without representing any other ethnicities was seen to be contentious," said the Bank of Canada documents. A focus group in Toronto did not object to the image and said it reflected the country's diversity.

Story continues below advertisement

But before the new banknotes were released to the public late last year, the image was changed to fit with Bank of Canada policy of not highlighting specific ethnicities, a spokeswoman for the Bank said. Those revelations led to questions from Canada's Chinese community, which held a news conference in Toronto on Friday questioning the move.

"It's our position that the Bank caved to the criticism and that's really unfortunate," said Victor Wong, national executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council.

The new $100 bill is designed to highlight Canada's contributions to science. The Bank of Canada said its policies are to avoid depicting any specific ethnic group in such designs.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter