The Bank of Canada (BoC) has launched a public consultation to seek input from Canadians on the possible creation of a digital Canadian dollar. The consultation will run from May 8 until June 19, and the bank has emphasized it is not currently developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) nor looking to replace cash. Rather, it is exploring the idea of a digital Canadian dollar as the world becomes increasingly digital. Senior Deputy Governor of the BoC, Carolyn Rogers, stated that the bank is seeking to hear from Canadians what they value most in the design of a digital dollar. The input will help the bank make decisions relating to the security and reliability of a potential digital currency, as well as ensuring it meets the needs of Canadians.
The BoC highlighted that it is important to consider the possibility of a digital Canadian dollar as cash usage declines, potentially excluding many Canadians from the economy. The bank also acknowledged the potential risks posed by the use of foreign CBDCs or cryptocurrencies, which could threaten the stability of the Canadian financial system.
The consultation’s questionnaire covers a wide range of topics, including payment methods used in the last month, how often the respondent would potentially use a Canadian CBDC, and what design features they would like to see. It also asks whether the respondent currently holds or uses cryptocurrencies and features demographic questions about age, gender, education, and income.
If a CBDC was issued, physical notes would still be provided “for those who want them,” according to the bank. The BoC said it will publish a report summarizing the consultation later this year.
While the consultation does not necessarily mean that a digital Canadian dollar will be created, it is a significant step towards exploring the possibility. Canada is not the only country considering a CBDC, with many central banks worldwide exploring the potential of digital currencies. The BoC’s consultation seeks to ensure that the bank makes an informed decision on the matter, taking into account the needs and desires of Canadians.