The Canadian one cent penny will be no more as of this autumn. After the federal government decided to cease further production, the last penny will be produced Friday at a special coin strike ceremony at a Winnipeg plant.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives introduced the federal budget at the end of March. In the annual budget, it was announced that the government will save $11 million per year by not producing one cent pennies, which cost 1.6 cents to create.
The price of goods will be rounded to the nearest nickel: $1.01 will be rounded to $1.00 and $1.04 will be rounded to $1.05, for example. There will be no rounding up or down in debit, cheque or credit card transactions.
During a special coin strike ceremony Friday, the Royal Canadian Mint will make its very last penny. At the Mint’s coin production facility on Lagimodiere Boulevard in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be on hand to mark the end of the penny’s circulation.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty with a Canada Company scholarship recipient.
Pennies will eventually become exanimate, but the value will remain and consumers can use it to purchase goods and services indefinitely. Flaherty said in March that the penny “is a currency without a currency in Canada.” He urged everyone who had jars of pennies at home to donate them to charity.
The first Canadian cents were introduced in 1858 as means to bring stability to the nation’s monetary system, which relied on British coinage, United States currency, Spanish milled dollars and bank tokens. Between 1858 and 1996, the penny was made up of between 95 and 98 percent copper, but since the year 2000, it has been composed of 94 percent steel.
Some Members of Parliament are advocating for the end of the five-cent nickel as well. This would make the 10-cent dime the lowest denominated currency in Canada.