The end of the penny - what you need to know

Dec 19 2017, 7:00 am

In March 2012, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the penny would be eliminated as part of federal budget cuts, estimated to save taxpayers $11 million per year. As of today, Feb. 4, 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint will no longer make or distribute pennies, and businesses will be encouraged to round cash transactions.

Rounding cash transactions

The Government of Canada has adopted a rounding guideline where only final amounts (after tax) should be subject to rounding:

Canadian penny eliminated - rounding

What you need to know

This is not going to have any impact on payments by cheque or electronic method – only cash transactions will be affected. You can still use pennies but it will be up to businesses whether they will accept them or not.

Therefore, for example, a coffee normally costing $3.69 plus tax equalling $4.13 would be rounded to $4.15 cash. If you’re paying by debit or credit, it would still be $4.13.

If you want to cash your jars full of pennies, take them to the bank in rolls.


  • Canada’s first penny was struck by the British Royal Mint in London in 1858
  • Since 1908, 35 billion pennies have been minted at the Royal Canadian Mint; side-by-side they would circle the earth 16 times and stacked up they would be the equivalent of almost 100,000 CN Towers
  • The last penny was struck in Winnipeg on May 4, 2012
  • In 2006, over 1.26 billion pennies were distributed – the equivalent of 12.6 million dollars
  • Until 1996, pennies were made mostly of copper and in 1997 they were changed and made with copper-plated zinc or copper-plated steel