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.
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.
Cash UsageThe 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.
"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."