Bank of Canada apologises for removing 'Asian' from bill

Canadian $100 bank note The Bank of Canada says it intended for the scientist looking into the microscope to appear to be of a neutral ethnicity

Related Stories

The Bank of Canada has apologised for removing an image of an "Asian-looking" woman from the design of a new $100 bank note.

The woman featuring on the sample note's image was substituted for a Caucasian woman after focus groups complained.

The Bank of Canada said its designers had unintentionally created an image representing one ethnic group.

Critics said that the re-design of the note had been racist.

"I apologize to those who were offended - the Bank's handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us," a statement from Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said.

"We will be reviewing our design process in light of these events. Our bank notes belong to all Canadians, and the work we do at the Bank is for all Canadians."

Eight focus groups were shown design proposals for new $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 plastic bills.

Documents obtained by the Canadian Press suggest there were concerns over the representation of an Asian woman for the largest denomination, which was designed to celebrate Canada's medical advances.

"Some have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian," said a 2009 report commissioned by the bank, according to CBC News.

"Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes."

Bank spokesman Jeremy Harrison said in an interview modifications had been made to the design of the note based on the focus group's feedback.

The bank said that the image had been based on an original photograph of a South Asian woman.

Last week, May Lui, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Canadian National Council, accused the Bank of "caving in to the racist feedback".

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

  • Devi AsmadiredjaHermit queen

    The German woman who swapped home for a mountain cave

  • Gift, genericTaboo gifts

    Which presents can cause offence?

  • Women in shared roomCrowded house

    Five ways to survive sharing a bedroom with strangers

  • Part of a Thomas Greve picture of the liberation of BuchenwaldBearing witness

    How a young survivor's drawings helped bring the Holocaust to life

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Older ladyAge of happiness

    A Russian photographer documents inspirational seniors who are refusing to grow old


  • A computer generated model of a lift shaftClick Watch

    The future of elevator technology - lifts that can climb up to 1km in the air and even travel sideways

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.