The Bank of Canada
(French: Banque du Canada
) is Canada's central bank
. The bank was chartered by and under the Bank of Canada Act
on July 3, 1934, as a privately owned corporation. In 1938, the bank was legally designated a federal Crown corporation. The Minister of Finance holds the entire share capital
issued by the bank. "The capital shall be divided into one hundred thousand shares of the par value
of fifty dollars each, which shall be issued to the Minister to be held by the Minister on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada."
The essential role of the bank, as Canada's central bank, is to "promote the economic and financial well-being of Canada."
This role follows from the purpose of the Bank as set out in the preamble to the Bank of Canada Act: "to regulate credit and currency in the best interests
of the economic life of the nation, to control and protect the external value of the national monetary unit
and to mitigate by its influence fluctuations in the general level of production, trade, prices and employment, so far as may be possible within the scope of monetary action, and generally to promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada".
With the exception of the word "Canada" replacing the word "Dominion" the wording today is identical to the 1934 legislation which created the bank. Changes to make the bank a government-owned institution in 1938 did not alter the purpose of the Bank as set out in the preamble to the Bank of Canada Act.
More specifically, the responsibilities of the bank are:
- the formulation of monetary policy;
- as the sole issuing authority of Canadian banknotes;
- the promotion of a safe, sound financial system within Canada; and
- funds management and central banking services "for the federal government, the Bank and other clients."
The Bank of Canada headquarters are located at the Bank of Canada Building, 234 Wellington Street in the nation's capital, Ottawa. The edifice also houses the Currency Museum, which opened in December, 1980.
Between 2013 and 2017, the Bank of Canada temporarily moved its offices to 234 Laurier Street in Ottawa to allow major renovations to its headquarters building.