Bank notes or cash can be inadvertently damaged in a number of ways. They can become mutilated by fire, flood, chemical, explosive, animal, insect or rodent damage. They could become contaminated where there is the risk of exposure to potentially hazardous biological substances such as water, blood, or mould or there is a risk of inhaling potentially hazardous dust particles such as drugs, asbestos or other toxic substances.
Such damage makes the cash unusable and potentially difficult to determine its value. To aid in this problem, the Bank of Canada offers a free “mutilated-note redemption” service. The cash is examined by an experienced team at a specially equipped laboratory in Ottawa in an attempt to determine the value of the cash. When their formal evaluation of the case is completed, a cheque is written to the customer for the value that they have been able to substantiate.
For more information on this program, visit the Bank of Canada’s website at http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/banknotes/mutilated/index.html for mutilated notes and http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/banknotes/contaminated/index.html for contaminated notes.
This program only covers cash issued by the Bank of Canada, ie Canadian paper money. It does not cover coins, foreign currency or “cash” issued by retailers such as Canadian Tire.
The US Government’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing has a similar program for US cash. Visit http://www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrency/damagedcurrency.html for more information on their program.