Pennies are copper

End of the cent coin: Canada melts down all copper pennies

During these winter days, people can be seen rushing to banks all over Canada with heavy bags, plastic bags and even backpacks. They carry their pennies, which they have accumulated in socks, pots and jars, to change machines to have them counted and converted into paper money.

As of February 4, 2013, the Ottawa Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, has frozen production of the smallest Canadian monetary unit, the 1 cent coin. From now on, pennies will no longer be distributed and circulated to retailers and banks.

The reason is the more expensive production costs, which at 1.6 cents per coin are higher than the actual monetary value. The Canadian government explains the move with soaring metal prices, production costs and wages that make making the penny unprofitable.

The shutdown of production saves eleven million dollars a year - this would also benefit taxpayers, according to the government statement from Ottawa.

A glass of wine for eleven euros

But the taxpayer senses galloping inflation. The metropolis of Vancouver on the west coast of Canada has become the most expensive city in North America. Here you can hardly buy anything for small change.

This is one of the reasons why households have accumulated an incredible amount of coins. A bread costs the Vancouverans the equivalent of around five euros, a piece of butter four euros and a glass of wine now even up to eleven euros.

The rents have doubled within ten years, the cost of living is well above the national level because the land prices have increased immeasurably. The city council is now selling individual parking spaces in the city center for a staggering $ 60,000.

"For me, the whole development is a clear sign of the global crisis that does not stop at Canada," says interior designer Ariane Behrend from Vancouver, who is bringing her two-year-old collection of pennies to her bank in a backpack. The slot machine counted $ 56, which Ariane is mediocre happy about.

“I can buy my dog ​​a few snacks with this,” jokes the designer, who keeps her head above water by painting. Last year was by no means so rosy for her in the chic city of Vancouver. She hasn't received a job for a good three months.

The gap between rich and poor is widening

In Canada, too, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The poverty rate has increased every year since the mid-1990s. It is 11.1 percent for Canadians of working age.

Compared with other western countries, Canada only ranks 7th in a recent study by the Canada Conference Board on quality of life and falls behind all Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and Austria. Child poverty has risen from 12.8 percent to 15.1 percent in the last ten years.

All over the country - between Quebec and British Columbia - the big cash-out of the penny is now being organized in shops, factories, firms and large corporations. Many shopkeepers are faced with the problem of being unable to give customers pennies for inconvenient amounts.

"Many business owners are not prepared for the new situation and found out too late," said Dan Kelly, chairman of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). “At the latest at the counter at the bank, many will understand that there are no more penny rolls to buy and they can no longer give change. There will certainly be some problems with the changeover. "

Treasury suggests rounding the amounts