Developing its new $100 bank note to celebrate the Canada’s medical innovations wasn’t an easy task for the Bank of Canada.
The bank stepped on some toes during the focus group stage of the progress, made some changes and then angered even more people with the final result. Here’s a look at the new bill and the hubbub surrounding its debut.
The image at the center of the controversy also happens to be featured on the center of the bank note. The woman looking through the microscope originally appeared to be Asian.
According to a 2009 report commissioned by the bank — which was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act — members of the focus group thought the image was promoting the stereotype that Asians are good in math, The Vancouver Sun first reported.
“Some have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian,” the report said. “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 rep-resented on the bank notes. Other ethnicities should also be shown.”
Bank spokesman Jeremy Harrison told The Sun that the original image was not intended as a representation of one particular ethnic group. He also said that “modifications were made” to the banknote after focus groups thought the image appeared to represent a particular ethnic group.
The modifications Harrison refers to may have appeased the focus group, but it angered many others who think the bank note now lacks diversity.
The bank’s governor, Mark Carney, has apologized for the design.
“In the development of our $100 bank note, efforts by the bank note designers to avoid depicting a specific individual resulted in an image that appears to represent only one ethnic group,” Carney said in a press release. “That was not the bank’s intention and I apologize to those who were offended — the Bank’s handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us.”
The bank is not planning on redesigning the currency at this time.