Senate votes to kill Canada’s penny

Senate votes to kill Canada’s penny

The upper house of Parliament, apparently finished snuffing out climate change bills, has turned its eyes to a cause that warms the hearts of a small cadre of obsessed economists throughout the country: killing the penny. According to the Toronto Star, the Senate Committee on National Finance is set to recommend that Canada ditch the one-cent piece, largely because it had lost 95 per cent of its purchasing power since being introduced in 1908:

It now costs more to produce the penny—about 1.5 cents each—than the coin’s actual face value.

The Royal Canadian Mint has been forced to sharply increase production of the penny in recent years as more and more Canadians hoard, rather than use the copper.

How do stores deal with a penny-less world? In Australia, sales are rounded to the nearest five cents, and in New Zealand (where those Hobbit-loving currency extremists even pulled the five-cent piece in 2006), sales are rounded to the nearest 10 cents. A penny-less Canada might mean unclogged fountains and empty tip jars.

Come to think of it, all the uses we can think of for the penny involve throwing it away. But will this be a slippery slope? Once we get rid of the penny, do we go the Kiwi route and get rid of the nickel? Is Canada ready for an argument over whether or not we ditch the beaver?

• Senate committee report recommends killing the penny [Toronto Star]
• The penny drops: Senate committee report recommends killing the coin [Winnipeg Free Press]