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As the penny is set to begin retirement next month, there are already calls to put the nickel out to pasture as well.
The Royal Canadian Mint starts collecting one-cent coins on Feb. 4 for melting and recycling of the metal content, with some six billion pennies expected to be surrendered by Canadians over the next six years.
The last pennies minted on May 4 in Winnipeg were costing about 1.6 cents each to manufacture. Aubry also estimates retailers, banks and consumers have absorbed about $140 million in handling costs each year, creating an unnecessary drag on the economy.
Aubrey, now with the Quebec-based Cirano inter-university research centre, says eliminating Canada’s nickel could be part of a larger strategy to retool the currency.
That would include creating a new coin to replace the five-dollar bill; adding a 20-cent coin; eliminating the quarter; perhaps creating a $200 bill; and reducing all coin sizes significantly to ease the burden on pockets.