Over 1 Billion Canadian Coins Went Out of Circulation During Lockdowns: Canadian Mint

Over 1 Billion Canadian Coins Went Out of Circulation During Lockdowns: Canadian Mint
A Canadian dollar coin is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto January 23, 2015. (Reuters/Mark Blinch/File Photo)
Peter Wilson

Over a billion Canadian coins went out of circulation during COVID-19 lockdowns, says the Royal Canadian Mint, while noting the pandemic contributed to the economy’s shift away from cash.

“The pandemic unexpectedly caused the supply of recirculating coins to decline, which meant that fewer recirculating coins were available to meet coin demand,” read the Mint’s “Summary Of The Corporate Plan 2022-26,” as first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.

In the report, the Mint provided figures of coins in circulation from both before and after the lockdowns began in early 2020.

“In 2019, the last full year of pre-pandemic operations, financial institutions needed more than three billion coins to support Canadian trade and commerce. In 2020, due to the various responses to the pandemic ... Canada’s financial institutions required only two billion coins,” said the Mint’s report.

It added that it anticipates Canada’s coin demand to continue declining because of digital payment options that were heavily adopted during the pandemic.

“Canada’s economy is shifting away from the use of cash toward electronic payment technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this shift, prompting a surge in online shopping and electronic payments,” said the document.

In a survey conducted in 2017, the Bank of Canada (BoC) said it found that just 15 percent of goods and services were purchased with cash, while over 50 percent were purchased through credit cards.
“Does this mean that Canadians are giving up on cash? The short answer is no,” the Bank wrote in its report.
“While the use of cash for payments is on the decline, our survey found that Canadians still use cash for a big share of their purchases. They are not ready to move entirely to electronic forms of payment.”

Cash Usage

The BoC published another report in July 2021 after collecting survey data in April, July, and November 2020, studying how the pandemic impacted cash usage in Canada. It found the cash circulation increased from $83 billion before the pandemic to over $100 billion by the end of 2020.

“A large majority of Canadians (80 percent) in the November survey reported that they have no plans to go cashless in the next five years,” BoC wrote, adding that about 60 percent of Canadians surveyed in November 2020 said they used cash for transactions during the month.

The report also said that “certain demographic groups” tend to use cash more often than others, with “older, less-educated and low-income individuals” being the most likely to use cash.
The Mint also said in its “Summary of the Corporate Plan” that Canadians “who do not have, want or qualify for a credit or debit card” often resort to using cash.

“In the long-term, Canadians who had no plans to go cashless (64%), tend to be seniors (33%), skewed female (60%), and less likely to be university educated (75% are not),” wrote the Mint.

“Even as Canada continues to move toward a cash-light society, the Mint must ensure coins are available in the correct denomination and region.”