Canada is finally doing a way with its penny. On Feb. 4, the country stopped distributing the one cent coin to financial institutions, and businesses are being asked to round cash transactions to the nearest five-cent increment. There are billions of pennies still in circulation in Canada, so it won’t be an overnight change where they suddenly disappear.
“We have never done this in Canada,” Royal Canadian Mint spokeswoman Christine Aquino tells the Vancouver Province. “We estimate three to four years [to get pennies out of circulation].”
Pennies will remain legal indefinitely, and it will now be up to businesses to decide if they want to accept the one-cent piece. They can return them to the Mint, which is going to melt the pennies down and recycle them. Pennies stopped being manufactured in Canada on May 4, 2012.
The reason behind the penny’s extinction? Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced in 2012 that it now costs 1.6 cents to make every penny, making them no longer worth production. In fact, the Canadian government believes it can save $11 million a year by no longer making them. As the coins become more and more rare, holding on to your pennies actually might end up being a worthwhile investment in Canada.