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

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Act current to 2021-09-11 and last amended on 2021-08-03. Previous Versions

PART IIBills of Exchange (continued)

Form and Interpretation of Bill (continued)

Marginal note:True date presumption

 Where a bill or an acceptance, or any endorsement on a bill, is dated, the date shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be the true date of the drawing, acceptance or endorsement, as the case may be.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 29

Marginal note:Undated bill payable after date

 Where a bill expressed to be payable at a fixed period after date is issued undated, or where the acceptance of a bill payable at sight or at a fixed period after sight is undated, any holder may insert therein the true date of issue or acceptance, and the bill shall be payable accordingly, but where the holder in good faith and by mistake inserts a wrong date, or in every other case where a wrong date is inserted, if the bill subsequently comes into the hands of a holder in due course, the bill is not voided thereby, but operates and is payable as if the date so inserted had been the true date.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 30

Marginal note:Perfecting bill

 Where a simple signature on a blank paper is delivered by the signer in order that it may be converted into a bill, it operates, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, as an authority to fill it up as a complete bill for any amount, using the signature for that of the drawer or acceptor, or an endorser, and, in like manner, when a bill is wanting in any material particular, the person in possession of it has, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the authority to fill up the omission in any way he thinks fit.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 31

Marginal note:When completed

  •  (1) In order that any instrument referred to in section 30 when completed may be enforceable against any person who became a party thereto prior to its completion, it must be filled up within a reasonable time and strictly in accordance with the authority given, but where any such instrument, after completion, is negotiated to a holder in due course, it is valid and effectual for all purposes in his hands, and he may enforce it as if it had been filled up within a reasonable time and strictly in accordance with the authority given.

  • Marginal note:Reasonable time

    (2) Reasonable time within the meaning of this section is a question of fact.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 32

Marginal note:Referee in case of need

  •  (1) The drawer of a bill and any endorser may insert therein the name of a person, who shall be called the referee in case of need, to whom the holder may resort in case of need, that is to say, in case the bill is dishonoured by non-acceptance or non-payment.

  • Marginal note:Option

    (2) The holder may, at his option, resort to the referee in case of need or not, as he thinks fit.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 33

Marginal note:Stipulations

 The drawer of a bill, and any endorser, may insert therein an express stipulation

  • (a) negativing or limiting his own liability to the holder; or

  • (b) waiving, with respect to himself, some or all of the holder’s duties.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 34


Marginal note:Acceptance

  •  (1) The acceptance of a bill is the signification by the drawee of his assent to the order of the drawer.

  • Marginal note:Drawee’s name wrong

    (2) Where in a bill the drawee is wrongly designated or his name is misspelt, he may accept the bill as therein described, adding, if he thinks fit, his proper signature or he may accept by his proper signature.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 35

Marginal note:Acceptance

  •  (1) An acceptance is invalid unless it complies with the following conditions:

    • (a) it must be written on the bill and be signed by the drawee; and

    • (b) it must not express that the drawee will perform his promise by any other means than the payment of money.

  • Marginal note:Mere signature

    (2) The mere signature of the drawee written on the bill without additional words is a sufficient acceptance.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 36

Marginal note:Acceptance

  •  (1) A bill may be accepted

    • (a) before it has been signed by the drawer or while otherwise incomplete; or

    • (b) when it is overdue or after it has been dishonoured by a previous refusal to accept, or by non-payment.

  • Marginal note:Acceptance after dishonour

    (2) When a bill payable at sight or after sight is dishonoured by non-acceptance and the drawee subsequently accepts it, the holder, in the absence of any different agreement, is entitled to have the bill accepted as of the date of first presentment to the drawee for acceptance.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 37

Marginal note:Kinds

  •  (1) An acceptance is either general or qualified.

  • Marginal note:General

    (2) A general acceptance assents without qualification to the order of the drawer.

  • Marginal note:Qualified

    (3) A qualified acceptance in express terms varies the effect of the bill as drawn and, in particular, an acceptance is qualified that is

    • (a) conditional, that is to say, that makes payment by the acceptor dependent on the fulfilment of a condition therein stated;

    • (b) partial, that is to say, an acceptance to pay part only of the amount for which the bill is drawn;

    • (c) qualified as to time; or

    • (d) the acceptance of one or more of the drawees, but not of all.

  • Marginal note:Specified place

    (4) An acceptance to pay at a particular specified place is not on that account conditional or qualified.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 38


Marginal note:When acceptance complete

 Every contract on a bill, whether it is the drawer’s, the acceptor’s or an endorser’s, is incomplete and revocable until delivery of the instrument in order to give effect thereto, but where an acceptance is written on a bill and the drawee gives notice to, or according to the directions of, the person entitled to the bill that he has accepted it, the acceptance then becomes complete and irrevocable.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 39

Marginal note:Requisites

  •  (1) As between immediate parties and as regards a remote party, other than a holder in due course, the delivery of a bill

    • (a) in order to be effectual must be made either by or under the authority of the party drawing, accepting or endorsing, as the case may be; or

    • (b) may be shown to have been conditional or for a special purpose only, and not for the purpose of transferring the property in the bill.

  • Marginal note:Presumption

    (2) Where the bill is in the hands of a holder in due course, a valid delivery of the bill by all parties prior to him, so as to make them liable to him, is conclusively presumed.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 40

Marginal note:Parting with possession

 Where a bill is no longer in the possession of a party who has signed it as drawer, acceptor or endorser, a valid and unconditional delivery by him is presumed until the contrary is proved.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 41

Computation of Time, Non-juridical Days and Days of Grace

Marginal note:Computation of time

 Where a bill is not payable on demand, three days, called days of grace, are, in every case, where the bill itself does not otherwise provide, added to the time of payment as fixed by the bill, and the bill is due and payable on the last day of grace, but whenever the last day of grace falls on a legal holiday or non-juridical day in the province where any such bill is payable, the day next following, not being a legal holiday or non-juridical day in that province, is the last day of grace.

  • R.S., c. B-5, s. 42

Marginal note:Non-juridical days

 In all matters relating to bills of exchange, the following and no other days shall be observed as legal holidays or non-juridical days:

  • (a) in all the provinces,

    • (i) Sundays, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which is observed on September 30, Remembrance Day and Christmas Day,

    • (ii) the birthday (or the day fixed by proclamation for the celebration of the birthday) of the reigning Sovereign,

    • (iii) any day appointed by proclamation to be observed as a public holiday, or as a day of general prayer or mourning or day of public rejoicing or thanksgiving, throughout Canada, and

    • (iv) the day next following New Year’s Day, Christmas Day and the birthday of the reigning Sovereign (if no other day is fixed by proclamation for the celebration of the birthday) when those days respectively fall on a Sunday;

  • (b) in any province, any day appointed by proclamation of the lieutenant governor of the province to be observed as a public holiday, or for a fast or thanksgiving within the province, and any day that is a non-juridical day by virtue of an Act of the legislature of the province; and

  • (c) in any city, town, municipality or other organized district, any day appointed to be observed as a civic holiday by resolution of the council, or other authority charged with the administration of the civic or municipal affairs of the city, town, municipality or district.

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