OTTAWA - Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says he is "absolutely open" to the idea of putting an identifiable woman back on Canada's currency, but that will have to wait until the next roll-out of bills.

The central bank has taken heat from women's groups for removing the so-called Famous Five, relating to the Supreme Court case that recognized women as persons, from the $50 note in the most recent roll-out of polymer bills.

Poloz acknowledges he had a weighty petition with 22,000 signatures plunked on his desk recently drawing his attention to the omission.

The petition, organized by author and historian Merna Forster, has been signed by a number of luminaries, including author Margaret Atwood and actors Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Dale.

"I really appreciate having the petition .... It's impressive but we're not going to change the notes tomorrow. But that will be a nice input to have in the next series," Poloz said in an interview, adding that he found the arguments well-reasoned.

"I'm absolutely open to the idea" for the future, he said.

Canadian women may have to wait a few years, however, possibly as much as a decade. And there are no guarantees.

Poloz says the process takes years and includes public consultations and focus-group testing to settle on a theme and the images to display the theme.

In the current series, which cost $20 million to develop, the chosen theme was "frontiers" dealing with Canadian breakthroughs. He notes there are no images of recognizable men on the notes either, except for a few prime ministers. An image of the Queen, of course, is on the bills.

It falls on Poloz to defend the new bills, even though their design was chosen under his predecessor Mark Carney, who has since received praise by announcing he intends to place a portrait of Jane Austen on the new British 10-pound note.

"Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes," Carney, now the Bank of England governor, said in a news release over the summer.

Poloz unveils the last of the series — the $5 and $10 notes — on Thursday, with the lower denomination note bearing his signature.

They feature former prime ministers Wilfrid Laurier and John A. Macdonald on the front, and the Canadarm and a train rolling through the Rockies on the back, respectively.

"We're pretty proud of them and actually the images are beautiful," he said. "They really do represent things that Canada achieved."

"I know people may find (the lack of women) disappointing ... but let's think of that as the next big idea that's landed on my desk for the next series."

The new $100 polymer note features an image of a female medical researcher peering into a microscope.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story, a previous version wrong said a female researcher was peering into a telescope

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  • Next: Twitter Jokes About New Bills

  • Andrew Coyne

    Even that would be better. @InklessPW: Wells designs new bills. What'll we put on the 5? Oscar Peterson. The 10? Peterson. 20? Glenn Gould

  • Cory S.

    Wait so there's no more quote from the Hockey Sweater on the new $5 bills? #manifencours

  • Tabatha Southey

    New bills should be 5 pin bowling for the $5, a Robertson screwdriver for the $10, a Canadian flag, draped over a picnic bench on the backs.

  • LauraBeaulneStuebing

    Theory about the new $5 and $10 bills: They're ugly enough that we don't want to keep them in our wallets.

  • Paul Wells

    Paul Wells designs the new bills. "What'll we put on the 5?" "Oscar Peterson." "And on the 10?" "Oscar Peterson." "20?" "Glenn Gould."

  • Wesley Fok

    Was expecting the new $5/$10 bills to literally have pictures of poop on them, based on the outcry. Surprise: they look like money!

  • Patrick Meehan

    Q: You're the federal government, what do you put on the new 5$ and 10$ bills? A: Things you've cut funding to. http://t.co/jqT3BLmENc

  • Jason Rehel

    Everyone is pretty damn hung up on the AESTHETICS of the new $5 and $10 bills in Canada. Me? I'd like money that WORKS in vending machines

  • Brittlestar

    @Cmdr_Hadfield Dude, with all the stuff you’ve had up there (guitars, Easter eggs, new $5 bills), how BIG was your suitcase?