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Flaherty says penny's future not bright, although no decision yet to scrap it

OTTAWA – Jim Flaherty has put in his two cents on the fate of Canada’s least valuable coin, and it appears the penny may be out of luck.

The finance minister described the one-cent piece as a “nuisance” on Tuesday, adding his department has investigated the possibility of scrapping it altogether.

The fate of the penny came under scrutiny in December after the senate finance committee tabled a report questioning the coin’s usefulness.

The report found the penny’s manufacturing costs exceed its actual worth, adding each copper-plated coin racks up a cost of 1.5 cents.

Outside institutions have also spoken up in support of the senate’s argument.

The Bank of Canada has said the penny has lost 95 per cent of its purchasing power since 1908, when it was first produced in Canada.

The Desjardins Group has also weighed in on the toll the penny takes on the economy, saying production, storage, transportation and other expenses associated with it cost $130 million a year.

Though Flaherty acknowledged the finance department has read and weighed the senate’s report, he stopped short of saying the penny’s days were numbered. The government has not yet made a decision on the coin’s future, he said.

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