The woman depicted on the Bank of Canada's new, plastic $100 bills appears to be white. But in an earlier draft of the bill, the woman was supposed to be Asian, an investigation by the Canadian Press found. Canadian focus groups that saw an early draft of the bill didn't like it. “Some have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian,” a report by the bank says.
Bank officials promptly ordered that the image be redrawn to instead depict a woman of "neutral ethnicity," the Press reported. But bank officials would not clarify to the Press what their definition of "neutral ethnicity" is.
“It’s our position that the Bank caved to the criticism and that’s really unfortunate,” Victor Wong, national executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, told the Globe and Mail.
A member of the Fredericton focus group said that the Asian woman's image didn't represent Canada. And in Montreal, and “the inclusion of an Asian without representing any other ethnicities was seen to be contentious,” the bank report noted, according to the Globe and Mail. But not all Canadian focus groups were critical. A focus group in Toronto liked the image and said that it was a reflection of Canada's diversity.