“The real issue was that people weren’t using them, they
were putting them in jars at home, and we were doing the same
thing at my house,” Flaherty said. He spoke today at the Royal
Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before pushing a button
that stamped the last one-cent coin.
The longest-serving finance minister in the Group of Seven
nations promised in his March 29 budget to save C$11 million
annually by eliminating the coin that he says costs 1.6 cents to
mint. The price of copper, which is used in the penny’s
production, has surged more than 330 percent since 2000.
Getting rid of the coin will have little impact on
inflation, the Bank of Canada said in a May 2010 report.
Electronic transactions will still be priced in cents, while
retailers will round cash transactions to the nearest five-cent
interval, according to the budget documents. The coin will still
be usable in payments.