Weird Laws: Paying With Coins In Canada

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Under the Canadian Currency Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-52), there is a limit to the value of a transaction for which one can use only coins to pay for a product or service:  A payment in coins referred to in subsection (1) is a legal tender for no more than the following amounts for the following denominations of coins:

1. forty dollars if the denomination is two dollars or greater but does not exceed ten dollars; (20  two dollar coins (toonies))
2. twenty-five dollars if the denomination is one dollar; (25  one dollar coins (loonies))
3. ten dollars if the denomination is ten cents or greater but less than one dollar; (100 dimes)
4. five dollars if the denomination is five cents; and (100 nickels)
5. twenty-five cents if the denomination is one cent. (25 pennies)

The law in practice:

  • A provider of a product or service may legally refuse to accept payment using larger than the above stated coin limitations.
  • Some banks  will refuse to change coins for individuals who are carrying no identification or do not have a bank account with their bank. (Some banks have free coin changing machines in their branches)
  • Coin changing machines charge a percentage fee (7-15%) to convert coins into bills so the consumer pays to use their money.
  • In 2010, Quebec resident Normand Czepial  attempted to pay his $6400 property tax bill in pennies – in protest of the $4000 increase to his taxes. The payment was refused. (CNews)
  • The University of Calgary‘s Financial Services Department implements this section of the act when accepting tuition and other payments: “According to Paragraph 8(2) of the Currency Act, the University will only accept payment in coins for the following amounts and denominations…”