This April, the Senate committee on national finance announced a cost/benefit study on the penny, including the possibility of withdrawing it. CBC has published a surprisingly fascinating look at the history of the issue.
There’s no end of good reasons to eliminate the penny. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year to produce, you can’t pay a bus fare with them, servers refuse them and shopkeepers would rather just round up your change. Even panhandlers will roll their eyes at the offer of a few pennies. Canada’s national Currency Act isn’t too fond of the detested currency either – it stipulates that no more than 25 pennies are legally allowed to be used in any single purchase.
CBC puts the penny debate in historical context, comparing it to similarly obsolete low-denomination coins that have been withdrawn from circulation, such as the English farthing – which was, at one-quarter the value of a penny, four times more useless.