Bills of Exchange Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. B-4)

Act current to 2017-11-20 and last amended on 2007-04-20. Previous Versions

Bills of Exchange Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. B-4

An Act relating to bills of exchange, cheques and promissory notes

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Bills of Exchange Act.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 1.


Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,



acceptance means an acceptance completed by delivery or notification; (acceptation)



action includes counter-claim and set-off; (action)



bank means a bank or an authorized foreign bank within the meaning of section 2 of the Bank Act; (banque)



bearer means the person in possession of a bill or note that is payable to bearer; (porteur)



bill means bill of exchange; (lettre)



defence includes counter-claim; (défense)



delivery means transfer of possession, actual or constructive, from one person to another; (livraison)


endossement ou endos

endorsement means an endorsement completed by delivery; (endossement ou endos)



holder means the payee or endorsee of a bill or note who is in possession of it, or the bearer thereof; (détenteur)



issue means the first delivery of a bill or note, complete in form, to a person who takes it as a holder; (émission)

non-business days

jours fériés

non-business days means days directed by this Act to be observed as legal holidays or non-juridical days, and any other day is a business day; (jours fériés)



note means promissory note; (billet)


Version anglaise seulement

value means valuable consideration. (Version anglaise seulement)

  • R.S., 1985, c. B-4, s. 2;
  • 1999, c. 28, s. 148.

PART IGeneral

Marginal note:Thing done in good faith

 A thing is deemed to be done in good faith, within the meaning of this Act, where it is in fact done honestly, whether it is done negligently or not.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 3.
Marginal note:Signature

 Where, by this Act, any instrument or writing is required to be signed by any person, it is not necessary that he should sign it with his own hand, but it is sufficient if his signature is written thereon by some other person by or under his authority.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 4.
Marginal note:What required of corporation

 In the case of a corporation, where, by this Act, any instrument or writing is required to be signed, it is sufficient if the instrument or writing is duly sealed with the corporate seal, but nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring the bill or note of a corporation to be under seal.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 5.
Marginal note:Computation of time
  •  (1) Where, by this Act, the time limited for doing any act or thing is less than three days, in reckoning time, non-business days are excluded.

  • Marginal note:Saturdays

    (2) In all matters relating to bills or notes,

    • (a) if the time for doing any act or thing expires or falls on a Saturday, that time is deemed to expire or fall, as the case may be, on the next following business day;

    • (b) a bill or note payable on demand cannot be duly presented for acceptance or payment on a Saturday; and

    • (c) failure to do any act or thing on a Saturday does not give rise to any rights.

  • Marginal note:Cheques

    (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a cheque may be presented and paid on a Saturday or a non-juridical day if the drawee is open for business at the time of the presentment and the presentment in all other respects is in accordance with this Act, and the non-acceptance or non-payment of a cheque so presented gives rise to the same rights as though it had been presented on a business day other than a Saturday.

  • Marginal note:Where bank not open for business

    (4) In all matters relating to bills or notes, notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, if a branch of a bank carrying on business is not open for business on a business day

    • (a) the time for doing any act or thing at the branch, if the time expires or falls on that day, is deemed to expire or fall, as the case may be, on the next following business day on which the branch is open for business;

    • (b) a bill or note payable on demand cannot be duly presented for acceptance or payment at the branch on that day; and

    • (c) failure to do any act or thing by reason of the branch not being open for business on that day does not give rise to any rights.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 6.
Marginal note:Crossing dividend warrants

 The provisions of this Act relating to crossed cheques apply to a warrant for payment of dividend.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 7.
Marginal note:Bank Act not affected

 Nothing in this Act affects the provisions of the Bank Act.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 8.
Marginal note:Common law of England

 The rules of the common law of England, including the law merchant, save in so far as they are inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act, apply to bills, notes and cheques.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 10.
Marginal note:Protest evidence

 A protest of any bill or note within Canada, and any copy thereof as copied by the notary or justice of the peace, is, in any action, evidence of presentation and dishonour, and also of service of notice of the presentation and dishonour as stated in the protest or copy.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 11.
Marginal note:Copy of protest, evidence

 Where a bill or note, presented for acceptance, or payable outside Canada, is protested for non-acceptance or non-payment, a notarial copy of the protest and of the notice of dishonour, and a notarial certificate of the service of the notice, shall be received in all courts as evidence of the protest, notice and service.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 12.
Marginal note:Officer of bank not to act as notary

 No clerk, teller or agent of any bank shall act as a notary in the protesting of any bill or note payable at the bank or at any of the branches of the bank in which he is employed.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 13.
Marginal note:Purchase of patent right
  •  (1) Every bill or note the consideration of which consists, in whole or in part, of the purchase money of a patent right, or of a partial interest, limited geographically or otherwise, in a patent right, shall have written or printed prominently and legibly across the face thereof, before it is issued, the words “Given for a patent right”.

  • Marginal note:Absence of necessary words

    (2) If the words “Given for a patent right” are not written or printed on any instrument in the manner prescribed in subsection (1), the instrument and any renewal thereof is void, except in the hands of a holder in due course without notice of the consideration.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 14.
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