Penny production comes to an end

Canada's venerable penny, or one-cent coin, officially died Monday, Feb. 4, 2103, when the Royal Canadian Mint stopped circulating it.

Credits: EROME LESSARD/The Intelligencer/QMI Agency


OTTAWA - Ottawa has officially stopped making cents.

But if Ottawa business owners are any indication, the Royal Canadian Mint's phasing out of the once-valuable penny isn't a headache. Rather, they're simply making official what they say most consumers and business owners have already come to terms with - the penny is irrelevant.

Derek Yuen, a convenience-store owner, says his customers haven't wanted pennies in their change for years - and he hasn't been giving them out, or even counting them as part of his float.

"We've rounded up or down for years," he said. "No one cares about the penny."

The government is officially recommending businesses follow this rule when charging customers: If the price ends with a 1, 2, 6 or 7 the cost will be rounded down to the nearest nickel. If the price ends with a 3, 4, 8 or 9, the price will be rounded up. For costs ending in 0 or 5, the price will remain the same.

Tory MP Shelly Glover, parliamentary secretary for the finance minister, says the move is about convenience and common sense. The production of one penny costs 1.6 cents; eliminating them will net an $11-million savings annually.

But NDP MP, Pat Martin, plans to introduce a private member's bill this week calling for the nickel and potentially even quarter to be phased out.

Martin's calls were dismissed by the government.

"The government is not considering elimination of any other denominations," David Barnabe, spokesperson at Finance Canada, said.

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