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Is it legal for a Canadian company to charge Canadian customers in US dollars?

By CO Staff |

Marta asked:

Is it legal for a  Canadian business charge Canadian customersin USD?

CO Staff answered:

The short answer is that yes, it is legal for Canadian businesses to charge Canadian customers in US dollars (USD).

Section 13 of the Currency Act states (emphasis added):
13. (1) Every contract, sale, payment, bill, note, instrument and security for money and every transaction, dealing, matter and thing relating to money or involving the payment of or the liability to pay money shall be made, executed, entered into, done or carried out in the currency of Canada, unless it is made, executed, entered into, done or carried out in
(a) the currency of a country other than Canada; or
(b) a unit of account that is defined in terms of the currencies of two or more countries.

Consider a scenario where a Canadian business has built a website that primarily serves US customers and uses technology that limits online sales to US dollars. In this scenario, it may be too costly for the business to redo its website to accept both payments in both Canadian and USD, so the business may decide to charge all customers in USD.

If a Canadian customer wants to pay in Canadian dollars — a scenario that makes sense for expensive purchases as converting money adds an additional cost — then it would make sense from a customer service perspective for the business to convert the sale price to Canadian dollars and accept payment in this manner. That would be a good business practice, but it is not required by law.

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