Penny may be a thing of the past

You may soon be penniless, but you’ll probably enjoy it. A Senate committee’s recommendation to eliminate Canada’s penny will be welcomed by most people and businesses, predicts the Consumers Association of Canada.

  • Dec. 20, 2010 5:00 a.m.

You may soon be penniless, but you’ll probably enjoy it. A Senate committee’s recommendation to eliminate Canada’s penny will be welcomed by most people and businesses, predicts the Consumers Association of Canada.

“It won’t be a loss for consumers,” president Bruce Cran said. “As far as we’re concerned, this is taking place 20 years too late.”

Only people very sentimental about the penny will object to eliminating the one-cent coin, he said, while consumers and businesses will save time, effort and money by no longer having to handle it.

Cran noted eliminating the penny only affects coin transactions, which will be rounded to the nearest five cents.

Debit, credit and other electronic transactions can still be priced in one-cent increments as they are now.

A report of the Senate finance committee recommends production of pennies – which cost about 1.5 cents each to make – be halted as soon as possible and the one-cent coin be phased out over the following two years.

Helmut Pastrick, economist at Central 1 Credit Union, agreed killing the penny likely makes sense.

“I suspect it’s a coin that can probably go,” he said.

Canada would follow in the footsteps of countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Britain in eliminating the one-cent coin.

“The penny has simply outlived its purpose,” added Senator Irving Gerstein. “It is a piece of currency, quite frankly, that lacks currency.”

It’s estimated eliminating the penny will save the government and businesses at least $130 million a year.

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