Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 30/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
First it was the $1 bill and then the $2 note switching to coins in Canada, followed by the elimination of the penny.
So, could the nickel be facing retirement next?
Not so fast, the government insists as an internal analysis on the pros and cons of keeping the nickel says it will stay for now.
There are “no plans to discontinue the nickel,” said David Barnabe of the finance department, even though New Zealand and South Africa have eliminated the coins over the past decade.
Even as the purchasing power of the nickel “has eroded over time (down 40 percent over 25 years) relative both to prices and incomes,” the analysis found it is still cost effective to mint them.
“As there are virtually no goods or services that can be purchased for a nickel, or several multiples thereof, the coin is generally used only to make change as part of larger transactions,” the study reported.
The nickel entered circulation in 1858 while the penny was dropped in 2013, leaving businesses to round up to the nearest nickel amount.
Some Canadian bankers suggest the nickel won’t be around five years from now.
A group of people surrounded the entrance to Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto last Monday night to protest against the Republican presidential candidate’s sexually aggressive comments.
The incident involving about 40 people follows an action before the Ontario Court of Appeals about claims made by investors in the downtown property.
Toronto councillor Josh Matlow earlier called for the name of the 65-story condo and hotel complex to be changed over Trump’s Muslim comments.
News in brief:
- An Ontario nurse has been arrested for murder involving eight residents of long-term care homes in Woodstock and London. Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, is accused of killing five elderly women and three men between 2007 and 2014 by drug injections, police said. Involved were seven residents at Caressant Care Woodstock and one resident at Meadow Park in London where Wettlaufer worked.
- Nine independents have been named to Canada’s Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with six from Ontario and five from Quebec. Trudeau’s goal is to make Senate appointments non-partisan to fill vacancies in the 105-seat upper house. When the rest of 21 new senators are named, there will be 44 independents, 40 Conservatives and 21 Liberals.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has dropped to 74.69 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.338 Canadian, before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,830 points while the TSX Venture index is 774 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.05 a liter or $3.99 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 26) 15, 17, 24, 27, 42 and 47; bonus 39. (Oct. 22) 13, 24, 29, 31, 33 and 47; bonus 43. Lotto Max: (Oct. 21) 33, 34, 36, 42, 44, 45 and 47; bonus 14.
- Montreal-based National Bank of Canada, the country’s sixth-largest commercial bank, is cutting 600 jobs, or three percent of its staff, over the next year. The layoffs are blamed on restructuring to adapt to a technological shift in the financial services industry. Other positions are being offered to another 300 workers and 500 more jobs are expected to be created within a year.
- There is currently no risk of Zika virus transmission in Canada after mosquito larvae from a species linked to human cases of the virus in Florida and the tropics were found in the Windsor area, health authorities say. Dr. Gary Kirk, medical officer of health in the Ontario city across from Detroit, said he believes it’s the first time that type of mosquito has been found in Canada but it wouldn’t survive the winter. The one case in the area was contracted through travel.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com