A Note on the New Notes

When not wanting to pay cash, we “put it on plastic”. In Canada, plastic will soon be the only choice, as our paper bills are replaced by polymer ones.

The new polymer bills, to be rolled out over the next few years, contain a number of security features to inhibit counterfeiting. These features include clear panels, metallic images and hidden numbers that appear when the bill is held up to a light.

Because the bills are made of polymer, they will last longer than paper bills. They should also survive being accidentally washed if you forget to take them out of your pocket, giving new meaning to the term “money laundering”.

The Bank of Canada (like all agencies that produce money) plays a constant cat-and-mouse game with counterfeiters. They release new versions of cash, the counterfeiters figure out how to duplicate them, and the cycle continues.

Paradoxically, government agents specializing in spotting counterfeit money don’t usually study it. Instead, they intensely study real money, so that when a counterfeit bill appears, the agent can easily spot it.

Counterfeit docs exists in our profession. These may be legitimate documents included in a product, but are nonetheless forgeries because they:

  • contain errors
  • are missing critical information
  • are unclear or difficult to understand

Studying counterfeit documentation will not make you a better writer. It will only teach you how to be a poor one.

Studying legitimate documentation that is well-written, clear, simple, accurate and easy to understand and navigate might.