Many vending machines require upgrade to handle new $10 Viola Desmond bills

TORONTO - Hundreds of thousands of cash-handling machines across the country have had to be upgraded to handle Canada's distinctive new $10 bill, while others are still rejecting the bank notes.

The polymer note features a vertical portrait of Nova Scotia civil rights advocate Viola Desmond.

Ensuring vending and other machines can read it requires a software upgrade for each device.

Since their introduction in mid-November, the Bank of Canada has made 19.6 million of the new notes available to financial institutions.

Almost 16.9 million of those are now considered to be in circulation.

Spencer Baxter of Value Vending Services in Nova Scotia says his 125 devices simply won't accept the new bills.

Upgrading them all, which he has yet to do, costs about $10 each - excluding driving and labour time to get to the machines at various locations.

The Bank of Canada says that at last count - at the end of November 2018 - 158 million $10 bills were in circulation across the country altogether.

- With a file from NEWSTALK1010