TORONTO - Crooks have faked some of the country’s new plastic-based banknotes, according to a Bank of Canada official.
The latest polymer notes — $20 bills — were put into circulation on Wednesday.
Manuel Parreira said counterfeiters have made crude attempts to copy polymer bills.
He did not disclose if the forgeries were copies of $100 bills released last November or $50 notes which have been in circulation since March.
There have been “three attempts on those counterfeit bills in Canada,” he said, adding “they’re very easy to detect.”
Bank of Canada officials went to the Sunnybrook Hospital’s veteran’s wing Wednesday, where new $20 polymer notes with the Vimy Memorial on the back were exchanged for paper versions of the bills.
A public education campaign is underway to explain new security features on the notes, including see-through holographic images on the front.
Invented in Australia and introduced there in 1988, polymer currency is now produced by 30 countries, Parreira said.
The “state-of-the-art” banknotes also have old-style, hand-tooled engraving of portraits plus some text and signatures, he said.
Polymer notes are replacing paper versions “to stay ahead of the counterfeiters,” Parreira said.
Answering reports that they may melt, he said tests have shown the notes can survive temperatures as high as 140C and as low as -75C.
“We’re confident that they will last in all sorts of environments,” he said.
Sunnybrook was selected for the local introduction of the new $20 bills because of the Vimy Memorial design on the back of the notes.
The image was dear to former Royal Canadian Air Force photographer Jack Ford, who, during the Second World War, flew over the site where Canadian soldiers captured the strategic ridge against great odds during the First World War.
“It’s beautiful,” Ford, who became an advertising firm executive, said while examining one of the crisp new notes.
Sitting near a display of his photographs, Ford said he officially visited many key locations, prisoners-of-war and bombed villages — plus several top-ranking people, including King George VI and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.