Good-bye penny, hello multiples of five -

Good-bye penny, hello multiples of five


Starting this fall, there will be no more digging through pockets and purses for spare pennies to pay the odd number of cents for your morning coffee. And you won’t be burdened with a smattering of copper coins every time you get change back from a cashier.

The Conservative government pledged to stop production of Canada’s one cent coin in yesterday’s budget, calling it a “burden on the economy.” It costs 1.6 cents to make a single one-cent coin, a blatant money-losing venture. In 2008, Quebec’s Desjardins released a study that said the penny’s existence in 2006 cost the Canadian economy $150 million. Canada currently spends about $11 million per year churning out pennies, even as the value of the coin has dwindled over time to 1/20th of its original purchasing power.

NDP MP Pat Martin, who has introduced at least three private member’s bill to scrap the one-cent piece, told the Winnipeg Free Press, that he was happy with the move. “This feels pretty good,” he said. “Finally, some common sense from government.”

As Maclean’s reported last year, the copper penny was introduced in Canada in 1858. Since the country opened its own coining factory in 1908, Canada has produced more than 31 billion one-cent pieces.

Now that penny production will be shut down, one-cent coins turned in at banks will be melted down. Cash transactions will be rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five, while the one-cent denomination will remain the base unit of the Canadian currency.

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Good-bye penny, hello multiples of five

  1. So, is it the base price that gets rounded up or down to the nearest nickel? Or is it the base price with consumption taxes on top? If it’s the latter, what will that do to consumption taxes as a fixed percentage of sales? Are we moving toward an expenditure tax system, or will prices and tax rates remain the same and we simply pay the odd amounts with our debit or credit cards? If we’re forced to use our cards for all transactions, will there be any relief from those additional bank fees?

    In lieu of my head exploding, perhaps someone brighter than I can offer clarity.

  2. Another question. Most simulation models show 60 to 93 percent of all transactions rounding up under the nearest-nickel scheme. Also, more than 600,000 impoverished Canadians do not have bank accounts or access to adequate banking services, and must pay for goods with cash. Therefore, the elimination of the penny is in fact a regressive tax that disproportionately penalizes the poorest in our communities. How will the government relieve impoverished Canadians of this new burden it will impose?

  3. To me this is a half measure.  We need to 
    – discontinue the quarter- introduce a 20 cent piece, and – bring the 50 cent piece back into general circulation  Then we can discontinue the nickel, and round everything to the nearest dime.  Are you listening Jimbo?