Canada dollar
The country's $20 bill already features Queen Elizabeth II but she is not a Canadian REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Canada will soon have bank notes that feature an iconic Canadian woman on it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on 8 March, International Women's Day, when he said the Bank of Canada would launch public consultations to pick the right person to feature on the next series of bills to be released by the federal bank in 2018.

"Today, on International Women's Day, the Bank of Canada is taking the first step by launching public consultations to select an iconic Canadian woman to be featured on this new bill," Trudeau said in a televised announcement.

The bank has also started taking nominations online, following which it will be decided who will figure on the country's next notes. There are, however, a couple of guidelines already set in place. The woman must be a Canadian — by birth or naturalisation — who has "demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction that has benefited the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada". The candidates need to be real people and not fictional characters and should have been deceased for at least 25 years. Nominations will close by 15 April, 2016.

The Canadian $20 bill already features a woman on it, Queen Elizabeth II who is the country's monarch, but she is not a Canadian. The earlier series of $50 bills, which featured the images of five notable Canadian women, were replaced with the image of an icebreaker in 2014.

Likely candidates for the new banknotes include Laura Secord a hero of the War of 1812 and Nellie McClung, who fought for women's right to vote in 1900s. Canadians are also being encouraged to post their preferences on social media using the hashtag #bankNOTEable. A number of entries have already come in, including those for artist Emily Carr, authors Lucy Maud Montgomery and Gabrielle Roy and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences co-founder Mary Pickford.

The US is also planning to put a woman's face of the $10 bill, which should go into circulation by 2020, the 100th anniversary celebration of the ratification of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote.