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The estimated savings for taxpayers from phasing out the penny is $11 million a year.
The cent will remain Canada's smallest unit for pricing goods and services. This will have no impact on payments made by cheque or electronic transactions—only cash transactions will be affected. Moreover, pennies can still be used in cash transactions indefinitely with businesses that choose to accept them.
To help consumers, businesses, charities and financial institutions to plan, a transition date of February 4, 2013 has been set after which the Royal Canadian Mint will no longer distribute pennies.
On this date, businesses will be encouraged to begin rounding cash transactions.
As pennies exit circulation, cash payments or transactions only will need to be rounded, either up or down, to the nearest five-cent increment.
The Government of Canada will be adopting a rounding guideline that has been used successfully by other countries for its cash transactions with the public.
Under this guideline, when pennies are not available, cash transactions will be rounded in a fair and transparent manner, as illustrated below:
When to round
Again, only cash transactions require rounding. Cheques and transactions using electronic payments—debit, credit and payments cards—do not need to be rounded, because they can be settled electronically to the exact amount.
For any cash payment, only the final amount (or equivalently, the change owed) should be subject to rounding. Individual items, as well as any duties, fees or taxes, should be tabulated in their exact amount prior to rounding, as illustrated:
*A tax rate of 5 per cent has been provided for the purposes of illustration. Any taxes (e.g., the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax), as well as any fees or duties, should be tabulated prior to rounding.