By Stewart Grant
On Monday night, a full-house of roughly 60 locals (Rotarians and guests) convened at the Rotary Apartments for a night of fellowship and an interesting speech by guest speaker Jane Voll, Senior Regional Representative (Economics) for Ontario with the Bank of Canada. Voll, who grew up in the Kitchener area but who now works in Toronto, was pleased to have the opportunity to spend time in St. Marys’ rural environment and speak with the group about the Bank of Canada’s role in the country’s economic function. Her speech touched on the history of the Bank of Canada, the decision-making structure of the institution, their philosophy on monetary policy, and the management of currency.
Prior to the formation of the Bank of Canada in 1934, different banks across the country used to issue their own currency. However, the effects of the Great Depression rattled confidence in these varied currencies and the Bank of Canada restored faith in the dollar which from then on would be fully backed by the Canadian government.
The leadership of the Bank of Canada is completely independent from the political parties who form the government. The governor and senior deputy governor are appointed for a 7-year term by the Bank’s Board of Directors.
Monetary policy decisions are made with goal of targeting an average annual inflation rate of around 2%, thus providing the economy with the best opportunity for healthy growth.
At present, there are roughly two billion currency notes in circulation. Due to the world-class anti-counterfeit characteristics of Canadian currency, the current fraud rate is only about 9 per one million across the country. This year, in honour of Canada’s 150-year birthday, a new $10 bill is being introduced which features two of the country’s founding fathers (Sir John A. MacDonald and Sir George-Etienne Cartier), the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons (Agnes Macphail), and the first First Nations senator (James Gladstone).
During the question period following Voll’s speech, one Rotary member playfully asked for the inside scoop on where exchange rates were headed, but this remains a mystery since Voll explained that the Bank of Canada does not manage to a specific rate.
While Jane Voll was a high-profile guest this week of the Rotary Club, it is not uncommon for local professionals to meet with the club during their regular Monday meetings, as a matter of interest, education, and the sharing of ideas.
With so many guests attending the Rotary meeting on Monday, it was a great opportunity for the St. Marys service club to increase awareness about Rotary International. The Rotary Club of St. Marys is one of 35,000+ such clubs across the world. The guiding principles of Rotary include service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. Together, Rotarians make a difference in our community by promoting peace, fighting disease, helping people in need, and growing local economies.
For more information on the Rotary Club of St. Marys, including questions on how to become a member, reach out to a local Rotarian or visit their website at www.rotarystmarys.ca.