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2013-01-29 at 17:07

Goodbye penny

Mike Dziver holds up at a few pennies on Jan. 29, 2013.
Jeff Labine,
Mike Dziver holds up at a few pennies on Jan. 29, 2013.
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By Jeff Labine,

A nickel for your thoughts?

Canada’s pennies will be phased out of the coinage system starting on Feb. 4. The federal government announced the single-cent coin would taken out of circulation because of the rising cost of production relative to the penny’s face value.

The plan is expected to save taxpayers $11 million annually.

But the removal of the penny has local business owner Mike Dziver worried.

Dziver, who manages the Hodder Greek restaurant and owns High Variety, handles cash every day as hungry patrons order something to eat. Usually the cost of a meal isn’t much more than $2 or $5.

He said the phasing out of the penny could be good or bad depending on the circumstances.

The benefits could be quicker customer service because they can round up or down to the nearest five or 10 cent. The rounding would only apply to cash transactions and would exclude cheques, debit, and credit or payment cards.

But the downside could be trying to balance the books and turning a profit, he said.

“The trouble is we’ll never be able to truly balance in a day because you will always be rounding up or down,” Dziver said.

“You’re always giving away pennies but now we’re going to have to round up or down. Canada is sort of the only one that has the penny. I guess it is sort of sad to see it go. Who knows what will be next? It could be the nickel.”

Dziver has already given his customers a heads up that the penny will be phased out. He said most don’t seem to care that much.

Most customers preferred to use their debit cards but Dziver said they had to start putting a minimum limit because so many people were using it.

Heidi Liimatainen, brand manager for the Thunder Bay Provincial Alliance Credit Union Limited, said they will be phasing out the penny starting next week. Although members can bring pennies in, the credit union won’t be distributing them.

Liimatainen said she’s optimistic that the change will be beneficial for her members.

“They don’t have to count the pennies anymore,” she said. “It’ll be easier for staff as well. We have a lot of pennies on stock and we have a lot on hand. They will now go back to the Bank of Canada. Once they are gone we will have more room here for sure.”

For more information, visit the Royal Canadian Mint’s website.

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