50 dollar bill canada

Canada is running out of $50 bills because people are hoarding them

Oh, Canada; first toilet paper, and now this. The Bank of Canada is reportedly facing a shortage of $50 bills and it's likely because Canadians are hoarding cash.

The Bank of Canada told CTV News that the shortage won't impact the consumer's ability to withdraw cash but it may require banks to alter their cash orders.

"We still have $50 bank notes in stock, but the order adjustments were made in order to maintain adequate inventories throughout the next few weeks," the Bank told CTV.

"This adjustment is due to the larger-than-expected demand over the past few months, and ahead of our regularly scheduled stock replenishment expected by the end of summer. This measure, which only affects the $50 denomination, is temporary and will be lifted as soon as possible."

The Bank of Canada didn't say why demand has increased for the $50 note specifically, but a July staff discussion reveals that there was an overall spike in demand for cash in April and May compared to the last five years.

A July report flags three reasons for the increase in notes in circulation:

  • precautionary steps by banks to increase their cash inventories;
  • reduced cash deposits from retailers to banks, which banks compensated for by drawing cash from the Bank of Canada;
  • increased consumer demand for cash

The report cites the increase in consumer demand as a "significant" factor and it indicates that Canadians are holding on to an extra $22 in cash during the pandemic.

Basically, Canadians are still taking out plenty of cash — but they're not spending it at the same rate.

Notably, the report also indicates that more than one-third of Canadians (36 per cent) are still using cash, despite the fact that many major clothing stores, restaurants and liquor stores are switching to cashless payments.

Lead photo by

Ross Dunn


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