More Canadians think nickel should be removed from circulation

Do Canadians think it's time to retire the nickel? Mark Neufeld speaks with a pollster, a coin expert, and people on the street about whether they think the 5-cent coin should be cashed out forever.

By Mark Neufeld

Almost 40 per cent of Canadians think the nickel should be flipped out of circulation, according to a recent poll. But across the country, not every province feels the same about cashing out the 5-cent coin and retiring it like the penny.

The poll conducted by Research Co in May of 1,000 Canadian adults, showed two in five would support taking the nickel out of circulation.

“A lot of it has to do with the purchasing power of the nickel, you cannot buy anything with it,” explained Mario Canseco President of Research. “So, the nickel is slowly becoming more like the penny.”

Canseco says he conducted a similar poll in 2019 asking Canadians then how they felt about removing the nickel from circulation. In the last three years, the number of Canadians who want it gone has increased.

Today, men are more likely to support getting rid of the coin at 47 per cent compared with Women at 33 per cent.

About 50 per cent of people living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, B.C. and Atlantic Canada want the nickel to stay while Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have the highest proportion of people who want it gone.

“But the trend is very interesting when you factor in what is happening as far as inflation, and the way we are spending, the pandemic affecting how we pay, maybe using less cash doing things more with credit or debit cards so who knows maybe 3 years from now we will have a majority who believe that the nickel should not be used anymore.”

Christopher Porco is a coin specialist who says as a collector he wasn’t thrilled when pennies went out of circulation and he would like to see nickels stick around. But Porco understands when coins become too expensive to mint it only make sense to pull them.

He encourages people to check their change, as older five-cent coins can be worth much more than face value.

“So, the Canadian Nickels have changed a lot over the last 150 years,” said Porco. “If you were to find, say a 1925 Canadian nickel in your change without any meter marks it’s worth around $65-$100 in normal circulating condition.”

Five cents can’t buy much in 2022 however in the 1920s a nickel could pay for parking, as a result, most of the nickels from 1925 have deep scratches called meter marks from being inserted into parking meters.

Porco says, the meter marks lower the coin’s value, but a scratched coin from 100 years is still a unique piece of history.

As for Canseco, he thinks if rates of inflation continue it’s only a matter of time before the nickel is no more.

“Maybe the government is going to say, ‘we don’t need to have these in our pockets anymore’.”

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