CALGARY – Whether they’re rattling around in your car’s cup holder or have vanished permanently into the couch cushions, coins are easy to take for granted.So when the Royal Canadian Mint announced a round of layoffs last month at its Winnipeg facility, it was a reminder that the change jingling in our pockets doesn’t get there by magic.
Those loonies and toonies and quarters and dimes are produced by the Mint, a Crown corporation that produces all of Canada’s circulation coins out of one state-of-the-art facility in the Manitoba capital.
It’s a mission the Mint believes is still vitally important, even as society’s transition toward digital payments accelerates. The Mint — which also produces international coins for dozens of other countries — has said it believes its recent layoffs will be temporary, and has blamed the 56 job losses on “prolonged effects of the pandemic and ongoing geopolitical instability” disrupting global markets.
But Marie Lemay, president of the Royal Canadian Mint, acknowledged in an interview that there are also long-term pressures on the corporation and its product. Since February 2013, when the Mint stopped producing pennies due to rising costs relative to face value, overall demand for other Canadian circulation coins has been declining by about eight per cent per year, she said.