I have been ranting to people for years about how we need to get rid of the penny. It is expensive to make (1.5 cents per penny!) and valueless. It isn't even worth the time to lean over and pick one up off the ground since a normal person makes half a penny a second while working. Why would we have a common piece of currency that is so worthless that it not be used to buy anything, nor even a significant fraction of anything?
Apparently the Canadian government has come around to agreeing with me and made the decision to get rid of the penny. They actually did it in a way that is extremely sensible I think because they mostly just going to stop minting pennies and slowly let them trickle out of circulation. There is a theory that removing the lowest denomination of coin from a currency causes inflation. Since the penny was the lowest denomination of coin for a very long time I don't particularly buy this argument. Pennies in 1915 were worth about 21 cents in today's dollars so unless there was a massive, constant inflation problem due to not having a small enough currency unit back then I can't see any significant inflation coming from trashing the penny.
Over time people will have less and less pennies to use and eventually businesses will start charging amounts divisible by 5 cents after tax to avoid needing pennies at all. Either that or businesses will start rounding off everything to 5 cent increments, either way is fine by me. One thing that does concern me a little is that the government is apparently relying on businesses to figure this out on their own instead of supplying a guideline for making change. If the government stipulated that businesses must always round up, round down, or round normally for change then everything would be fine but leaving it wide open means there will be some unnecessary confusion.
The thing that is unfortunate to my mind is that the government hasn't simply gone whole hog and trashed the nickel too. Getting rid of the 1 cent and 5 cent coins all in one go would still leave us with a smaller unit of currency than was available for much of Canada's history and would reduce further the amount of weighty, nearly worthless metal we all end up carrying around.