Phasing out the Penny

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

In Canada’s 2012 Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada announced the phasing out of the penny from Canada’s coinage system. However, the penny will retain its value indefinitely and can continue to be used in payments. The Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing new pennies in February 2013. As pennies are gradually disappear from circulation, the price of cash transactions will be rounded.

About the Initiative

The decision to withdraw the penny from circulation was driven by its low purchasing power, its rising cost of production relative to face value, the increased accumulation of pennies by Canadians in their households, environmental considerations, and the significant handling costs the penny imposes on retailers, financial institutions, and the economy more generally. In contrast to other coin denominations, the Government loses money on every new penny produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. It cost the Government 1.6 cents to produce each new penny, which exceeded the penny’s face value by 0.6 cents. The estimated savings for taxpayers from phasing out the penny is about $11 million a year. The penny will retain its value indefinitely and can continue to be used in payments if accepted by businesses. However, as pennies gradually disappear from circulation, price rounding on cash transactions will be required. In removing its lowest-denomination coin, Canada will follow on the successful experiences of many other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand.

Who Will Benefit

Canadians will be able to easily adapt to the phasing out of the penny. Pennies that are still in circulation or are held by Canadians will retain their value, and consumers can continue to use them indefinitely to make payments with businesses that accept them. Canadians can also redeem rolled pennies at their financial institutions. Canadians who have saved a substantial amount of pennies over the years can also consider donating these to charities. Retailers and other businesses can continue to price goods and services in one-cent increments. When settling transactions in cash where pennies are not available, businesses are expected to round prices in a fair, consistent, and transparent manner. Financial institutions will realize significant cost savings in no longer handling pennies. Given the large volume and weight of pennies, the handling, storage and transportation of these coins are costly for them. The redemption of pennies presents a fundraising opportunity for charities.

Initiative Update

Following consultations with Canadian small business and retailers, to facilitate the transition to a "penny-free" economy, the Government selected February 4, 2013 as the date when the Royal Canadian Mint would no longer distribute new pennies. This date ensured that all those participating in the transition would have ample time to prepare their business, train staff, and better inform consumers. It also allowed charities to hold dedicated "penny drive" campaigns outside of existing fall fundraising drives.

Find Out More

For more information, please visit theDepartment of Finance Canada Phasing out the Penny Web portal.

Search form

Share this page:

Projects Map

Working in Canada

Search for the latest job opportunities and skill requirements in Canada's job market including mining, forestry, and various trades.