Jim Flaherty Tasked to Collect One-Cent Pennies

The Finance Minister of Canada, Jim Flaherty, has been tasked to cash in all the pennies in the country. A cabinet order passed this month has ordered him to pay off all financial institutions in exchange for the piles of pennies they may have, and then return all the collected treasury of pennies back to the Royal Canadian Mint early next year.

The budget approved in this March budget, surprised Flaherty with the announcement of terminating the one-cent piece, claiming that pennies are expensive to manufacture and often form source of annoyance to many Canadians. The last penny to be manufactured in Canada was on May 4 at a Winnipeg plant. Now from the Feb. 4 of next year, the mint will end distributing the remaining stock and rather begin accumulating all the pennies from banks and other financial institutions.

Initially the Currency Act did not have any plan of compensating the banks for all rolls of copper and copper-plated pieces they might have already purchased. But later cabinet passed an order-in-council on Dec. 6 in order to “support an orderly pace of withdrawal of pennies from the economy.” The order will be compensating the Royal Canadian Mint for the handling costs too.  A Finance Canada official, David Barnabe, alleged that “based on the experience of other countries, the amount of pennies returned by the public should be a fraction of this amount, and be spread mainly over the next few years.”

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