A Manitoba man has found cracks in the claim Canada's new polymer bills are stronger than the paper variety they're replacing.

Brandon resident Charles Shepard says a test he devised at home found the old, paper bills were able to take three times as much weight before tearing in half.

He first noticed the weakness on Tuesday when he withdrew 12 of the plastic $100 bills from a local bank. The bills, which first went into circulation in November, are supposed to last two-and-a-half times as long as their paper counterparts, according to the Bank of Canada.

Shepard said two of the bills he received already had nicks in them and began tearing even more when he handled them.

"This one had a crack or something where it was folded," he explained, showing CTV Winnipeg the bill in question. "When I counted the money, it seemed to just tear instantly."

In the test he devised, he placed a full can of Coke on top of one of the cracked bills and pulled on it. The bill tore easily in half.

"It probably would've torn with less than one can of Coke," he added.

Trying the same test with a cracked paper $50 bill and a piece of 2-ply toilet paper, Shepard found both could withstand the weight of three full pop cans without ripping. After seeing the results, he says he'd prefer to stick with the old bills when possible.

"I think I'd rather have two fifties, the older paper bills," he said. "I don't think the Canadian $100 bill should be weaker than two-ply toilet paper."

The Bank of Canada says it's aware of the issue, but it's not a major concern.

"One of the elements of the polymer compound upon which the bills are printed will basically cause the bills to tear if there's a nick of any of the four sides of the bill," said regional Bank of Canada representative Ted Mieszkalski. "The bills themselves can be cut but not torn."

He says the plastic bills are still much more durable than the paper ones, a claim supported by banks and retailers questioned by CTV News.

"When you get several of them they're slippery so they're a little bit harder to count, but other than that they're great," says Tracy Jonasson of Brandon Home Hardware.

The Bank of Canada says anyone with a ripped new bill can exchange it for a new one at any financial institution.

With a report by CTV Winnipeg's Josh Crabb