In August 2001, 1.51 Canadian dollars equaled 1 U.S. dollar. The value of the Canadian dollar has remained fairly constant in relation to the U.S. dollar since hitting an all-time low in 1985. In 1995, 1 U.S. dollar equaled 1.3724 Canadian dollars. Recent weaknesses in the Canadian dollar have helped the nation's economy by making its exports cheaper for countries like the United States, a development that has helped spur the increase in Canadian exports.
The Bank of Canada is the nation's central bank. Its main purpose is to regulate monetary policy . The Bank of Canada prints paper currency and mints coins and is responsible for setting interest rates. The Bank is a private institution that is independent of the government. However, the members of the board of directors that oversee the Bank are appointed by the federal government's Finance Minister for 3-year terms. It is not a regular commercial bank and it loans money only to other banks or government bodies. The Bank is also in charge of administering the national debt and making payments on the debt. In an effort to combat the drug trade and counterfeiting, the Bank has undertaken a variety of measures in recent years, including adding new security features to
|Exchange rates: Canada|
|Canadian dollars (Can$) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
currency and eliminating the Can$1,000 bill (since it was rarely used by legitimate businesses, but commonly used in the drug trade).
The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE), founded in 1852, is one of the largest in North America. Its "TSE 300" index, which lists the 300 largest companies on the exchange, is usually used as the major Canadian stock index. Other major Canadian stock exchanges include the Alberta, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg stock exchanges. The total value of these exchanges in 1998 was US$543.4 billion. There were 1,384 domestic companies listed in these exchanges in addition to a host of international companies.