Canada will move to plastic currency in mid-2011 for enhanced security against counterfeiting. As well, plastic bills last longer than cotton paper ones currently used.
Canada has nearly 1.5 billion bank notes in circulation. A Bank of Canada spokeswoman declined to detail which notes initially will be plastic, citing security concerns. She also declined to confirm whether the supplier of plastic bank notes will be Securency International Pty. Ltd. Australia is investigating kickback allegations against Securency.
Bruno Garoffolo, marketing manager for Craigieburn, Australia-based Securency, would not confirm if the Bank of Canada will use the company's polymer substrate for its proposed new bank notes.
We have discussions with lots of banks, but I can't say anything about any future arrangements, he said.
However, he confirmed Securency is the only firm that produces a total polymer substrate, saying other companies do a combination of other materials.
Securency supplies the biaxially oriented polypropylene substrate to Wigton, England-based Innovia Films Ltd., which extrudes the film. Innovia is a 50 percent owner of Securency, along with the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Garoffolo said the notes are printed in Australia by Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia, or by high-security commercial printers overseas. NPA prints notes for another 17 countries that use the BOPP substrate.
According to Innovia, polymer notes are more difficult to counterfeit than paper notes. They have a high tear strength, are non-porous, non-fibrous and impervious to water and other liquids. They resist soiling and last up to four or five times longer than conventional paper bank notes. They can be recycled at the end of their circulation life, Innovia added.
Securency said Australia has experienced a landmark reduction in counterfeiting since it introduced polymer notes and has significantly lower levels than many other countries still using paper notes, including Canada and the United Kingdom.
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