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Canada extends life of penny coins

July 31, 2012 at 2:56 PM   |   Comments

OTTAWA, July 31 (UPI) -- The Canadian government has given doomed copper pennies six more months to circulate so as not to disrupt the Christmas and holiday shopping season.

In the Conservative government's March budget, it was announced the coins would be phased out of circulation by this fall and the last pennies were stamped by the Royal Canadian Mint in May.

However, the federal finance ministry announced this week the one-cent coins won't start being retrieved by banks until February so as not to disrupt the December shopping season, the Toronto Star said.

The copper-coated steel pennies cost 1.6 cents each to produce and many Canadians discard them as trash. UPI has observed homeless people who beg in Toronto throwing pennies down sewers.

The government said there would be an $11 million dollar annual saving by abandoning the lowest-value coin.

Retailers will have to round prices up or down to the nearest 5-cent value when the pennies begin to disappear, while non-cash transactions will still include cents-value, the report said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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