Canada to phase out penny

March 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM
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OTTAWA, March 30 (UPI) -- The Canadian government announced it will begin phasing out the penny beginning in the fall as a counter-inflationary measure.

Budget documents said the penny's "burden to the economy has grown relative to its value as a means of payment" because of inflation, Postmedia News reported Friday.

The decision to discontinue the penny was announced Thursday.

"The penny is a currency without any currency," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said. "Free your pennies from their prisons at home and donate them to charity."

The government, keeping in line with a 2010 Senate report, will end making pennies in the fall and ask Canadian businesses and consumers to round up -- or down -- to the nearest nickel at the cash register for currency transactions. Credit or debit card transactions still pay to the nearest cent.

Garth Whyte, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association, said the change isn't something to take lightly, Postmedia News reported.

"There will be major transitional challenges for restaurateurs, such as reprogramming cash registers, pricing and employee training issues" for the restaurant industry, Whyte said.

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