The Canadian Tory government has announced that it's discontinuing the minting of new pennies, as the coins are expensive and considered a "nuisance" by businesses and their customers. As Steven Chase writes in the Globe and Mail:
"It costs taxpayers a penny-and-a-half every time we make one," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told the Commons, adding the move will save taxpayers $11-million annually.
…The increasing scarcity of pennies means Canadians will have to get used to cash transactions being rounded off if they've got no pennies on hand.
Ottawa is suggesting businesses round off cash transactions to the nearest five-cent increment but says it's leaving this to businesses to work out for themselves.
When I was (briefly) at the University of Waterloo, the Engineering faculty's cafeteria had an option to dispense with change altogether: when your bill was added up, you could opt to gamble on rounding, with the direction — up or down — dependent on your change. In other words, if you had $3.83 owing to you, you'd have an 83% chance of getting $4 back, and a 17% chance of getting $3 back.
(Image: CANADA, GEORGE V 1920 —FIRST ISSUE, SMALL ONE CENT a, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from woodysworld1778's photostream)