OTTAWA, ON (News1130) – Hopefully your math and rounding skills are sharp. The Royal Canadian Mint has now ceased production of the penny, meaning the government’s new “rounding” policy is in effect.

While the cent will remain Canada’s lowest denomination for pricing items, when pennies are not available, all cash transactions will now be rounded to the nearest nickel. Payment by credit card, debit and cheque will not be affected and will continue to be settled on the cent.

Pennies will stand as legal tender indefinitely, however the mint will no longer provide them to financial institutions beginning in the fall.

Items at .01 or .02 will be rounded down to .00, while items at .03 or .04 will be rounded up to .05. Meanwhile, items at .06 or .07 will be rounded down to .05, while items at .08 and .09 will be rounded up to .10.

It is important to note that any rounding will be incorporated after the calculation of GST or HST on the item.

It will likely take many years for pennies to be phased out completely, and should retailers still have pennies available, the transaction will be settled on the cent.

When the mint stops providing pennies this fall, financial institutions will be asked to return pennies for the melting and recycling of their metal content.

In the March budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the penny would no longer be produced. He estimated that will save the government $11-million a year because it costs more to manufacture a penny than it’s worth. He believes many Canadians view the coin as a nuisance.

The last Canadian penny was manufactured yesterday at the Royal Canadian Mint facility in Winnipeg.