Digital Canadian Dollar Public Consultation Report

Forum Research, in collaboration with the Bank of Canada, conducted an online public consultation to gather community views and preferences from across Canada regarding the potential introduction of a digital Canadian dollar. The public consultation was open for six weeks from May 8 to June 19, 2023, to Canadian residents over the age of 18 and was delivered as an online questionnaire. Below are some of the key findings from each section of the consultation. Further detail can be found in each section of this report.

The survey received a high level of engagement from individuals across Canada, gathering a total of 89,423 responses during the consultation period. All provinces and territories were represented in the survey. It is important to note that since the consultation was open to the public, participation is not representative of the Canadian population.

Payments today
Respondents exhibited a high level of awareness and familiarity with the concept of a digital Canadian dollar. Cash emerged as the prevailing method of payment used among respondents, closely followed by credit cards and debit cards. The reasons for using these payment methods varied, with cash being preferred for its anonymity, safety, and acceptance.

Design concepts and principles
Most respondents recognized the importance of having access to a form of money issued and backed by the Bank of Canada, valuing its wide acceptance, universal availability, and transactional privacy. Some respondents expressed interest in having an alternate offline payment method to cash, especially during power and Internet outages. However, security concerns loomed large, with low trust among survey participants in the Bank of Canada’s ability to issue a secure digital Canadian dollar.
Privacy control features, such as controlling the use of personal information and transaction data, were considered more important by respondents than the ability to hold funds anonymously or recover them in case of loss or theft. This highlighted a clear prioritization of privacy. However, trust in the Bank of Canada and other institutions concerning privacy matters
was notably low.

Use cases and advice
Despite high awareness, most respondents did not envision themselves using a digital Canadian dollar and preferred their existing payment methods. They also supported regulation mandating merchants to accept cash and believed that the Bank of Canada should continue to provide an official means of payment backed by the central bank such as banknotes. However,
skepticism prevailed regarding the Bank of Canada’s role in researching and building the capability to issue a digital Canadian dollar. Furthermore, respondents were doubtful that the Bank of Canada would consider public feedback on this matter.
Overall, the public consultation gathered a diversity of attitudes and concerns from Canadians regarding a digital Canadian dollar, underlining significant reservations related to privacy and security and a strong preference for existing payment methods.

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