The governor of the Bank of Canada has apologized for and Asian-looking woman who appeared on an early design for the new Canadian $100 banknote. In a statement to the press, Governor Mark Carney said, “I apologize to those who were offended – the bank’s handling of the issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us. 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.”
The controversy stems from the design process of the new $100 Canadian banknote, which has the theme of “Canadian medical innovation.” According to the Bank of Canada, an early draft of the design for the note included a photoshopped image of an original photograph of a South Asian woman looking through a microscope. The mock-up was shown to a focus group, who did not approve of the image. A Canadian Press report stated that some members of the focus group did not think the woman represented Canada, while others thought more ethnic groups should be depicted.
This revelation has caused Chinese-Canadians to protest, calling the removal of the woman’s ethnicity in the final note “racist.” The Chinese Canadian National Council has called on the Bank of Canada to change its money-design policies and allow minorities to appear on banknotes. A bank spokesperson told The Canadian Press that the purpose of the focus group was the basic concept behind the design.
Though he did apologize, Carney stated that the image in question was part of early design stages before he had a chance to look at and approve any design. He said that further design on final version of the $100 note was created using an original set of images “from the ground up.” The final version of the $100 Canadian banknote depicts a woman of non-specific ethnicity, and was drawn, Carney said, so as to not resemble an actual person.
(Picture courtesy Bank of Canada)