“Not obligatory” to have Canadian currency with the effigy of Charles III | Death of Queen Elizabeth II

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Therefore, the Crown and its symbols are an integral part of the daily lives of Canadiansis it written from the outset on the Canadian government site on the page entitled: Crown Transition – what it means for Canadians.

The Queen’s death automatically made Prince Charles the new sovereign of Canada, and required no specific action from the Canadian government.

That said, this change of reign will bring about changes that could manifest themselves even in the pocketbooks of Canadians. Indeed, what impact will the death of the Queen have on the Canadian currency?

For now, all coins bearing the image of Elizabeth II are legal tender and will remain in circulation indefinitely, confirms the Royal Canadian Mint. The same goes for the $20 note, made of polymer, and which features the Queen’s portrait.

We will modify future coins in accordance with the government’s decision and timeline, which are yet to be determined. »

A quote from Alex Reeves, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, Royal Canadian Mint

A Canadian $20 bill.

Photo: The Canadian Press/JONATHAN HAYWARD

A political choice to be made

In the future, the decision to integrate, or not, the image of Charles III on coins and banknotes rests with the Canadian government.

As Patrick Taillon, professor of constitutional law at Université Laval, explains, this is not mandatory […] it is a political choice that is not dictated by the Constitution.

Charles III is nominally the head of state of more than ten Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia. In Canada, he is represented by the Governor General, Mary Simon.

So it’s up to the government [de Justin ] Trudeau to decide to what extent he will want, with this new head of state, to play with royalist or monarchist vocabulary, language and symbolscontinues Patrick Taillon.

Philippe Lagassé, associate professor and expert on the Westminster parliamentary system at Carleton University, says not be at all convinced that Ottawa will print new $20 bills and mint new coins bearing the image of the new sovereign.

In this era where discussions about equity and diversity are rife, officials won’t automatically decide whether to put British septuagenarian on the moneyhe said.

I don’t believe it’s automatic as some monarchists think and hopecontinues Philippe Lagassé.

That said, it is not impossible that the image of Charles III appears on coins and banknotes, because it is difficult to choose who could be put in his placeconcludes Mr. Taillon.

Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II stamp.

In February 2022, Canada Post issued a stamp featuring Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.

Photo: Canada Post Corporation

When Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee last February, Canada Post unveiled a commemorative stamp in her honour. This stamp, and the approximately 70 others produced by the Crown corporation in honor of the British sovereign, will likely still be used as legal postage.

At the federal level, we remain very attached to tradition, notes Patrick Taillon, who does not exclude the possibility that changes will be made in Canada with this change of reign and this new head of state.

It may be an opportunity to review, he says, because the characteristic of the monarchy in Canada is to be legally omnipresent, but politically invisible.

At home, it is in the name of Her Majesty the Queen that prosecutors prosecute criminal cases. However, in Quebec, this has been changed: From the Quiet Revolution, we continued to live in a monarchy because it is at the heart of our legal system, recalls the professor from Laval University. You can’t pass any law without royal assent.

But we have, if I may say so, masked all the symbols, we have somewhat republicanized them with synonyms.

In the laws of Quebec, whenever there used to be the word crown, or king or queen, it has been replaced by State, which is somewhat synonymous. »

A quote from Patrick Taillon, professor of constitutional law at Laval University

Buildings and official seals are adorned with the Royal Arms of Canada, several museums and institutions bear the title of Crown corporations, passports issued in Canada attest to the authority of the Queen on the back cover and Navy ships Royal Canadian Navy all bear a name with the prefix HMCS (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship).

Over time, the Government of Canada website noted, the effigy or portrait of the new monarch will be incorporated into a range of official documents and used in services, ceremonies and activities that reflect the Crown. in Canada.

People with small Canadian flags, seated in a room waiting for the citizenship ceremony.

New Canadians take part in a citizenship ceremony.

Photo: CBC/Stephen Lubig

Live your monarchy in your own way

It is to King Charles III, not the Queen, that new Canadians will swear allegiance at their citizenship ceremony. On the other hand, both members of the House of Commons and members of the Senate will not have to take the oath again.

Queen Elizabeth II was the patron of charities and organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Royal Institute of Architecture of Canada or the Canadian Nurses Association. The latter can ask the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General that another member of the royal family sponsor them from now on.

On Friday, from Buckingham Palace, King Charles III gave his maiden address in which he pledged, as monarch, to serve the British people for the rest of his life. Charles, who is to be officially proclaimed king on Saturday, also addressed his other subjects, among them the 38 million Canadians.

Wherever you live in the UK or in realms and territories across this vast world, and whatever your personal and professional backgrounds, I pledge to serve you with love and respect. […]. »

A quote from Extract from the first speech of Charles III

It remains to be seen what kind of king Charles III will be. He who was only a toddler when his mother was crowned queen will have to meet many challenges, including that of repeating, at the 21e century, the relevance of the monarchy.

As for Canada, the future will tell how it will choose to integrate the image of this new monarch and other symbols associated with it. To what extent do we want to play with this visibility, at least in the symbols? asks Patrick Taillon. That, we have a lot of leeway and it is up to Canada to live its monarchy in its own way.

With information from Mélissa François

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