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The passing of the penny

OTTAWA - Jim Flaherty is setting his sights on your pennies.

The federal finance minister is reminding Canadians that starting Feb. 4, the Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing pennies and instead start collecting them from banks and other financial institutions.

Flaherty says he'll take every advantage over the next month to remind Canadians that the supply of pennies will start to diminish as a result.

In his March budget, Flaherty unexpectedly announced the demise of the one-cent piece, saying pennies cost too much to manufacture and are a nuisance to many Canadians.

After Feb. 4, cash transactions will have to be rounded to the nearest five-cent increment, but electronic transactions will still be calculated down to the individual cent.

The last new penny was struck May 4 at a Winnipeg plant.

The mint has stamped an estimated 35 billion pennies from metal plates over the last century.

A cabinet order last month gave Flaherty the authority to pay financial institutions for the mountains of pennies they'll begin to return to the mint.

The Canadian Press


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