OTTAWA -- Canada's federal government recently announced that it plans to change the metallic composition of the country's $1 and $2 coins to multi-ply plated steel. The Royal Canadian Mint estimates that the new material and production technique will cut costs significantly, saving up to $15 million a year. The mint also claims its new coins will work in vending machines, but the Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association (Mississauga, ON) is voicing its doubts.
The vending association issued a statement expressing its concern that, while the introduction of the multi-ply coins will save significant money for the Canadian Treasury, the change will result in equal, if not greater, costs to Canadian small businesses in the automatic merchandising industry.
According to CAMA, the $15 million the government estimates it will save is just a fraction of the extra costs that will ultimately burden Canadian businesses and consumers. In addition, CAMA pointed out, local governments will be forced to bear the financial burden of converting municipally owned and operated parking and transit equipment to accommodate the new coins.
"Although CAMA appreciates the Royal Canadian Mint's cost-saving efforts, we are concerned with its negative impacts on the coin acceptance industry in Canada," said CAMA president Kim Lockie. "This change delivers no financial benefits to our industry, but rather will add significant expenses to not only our members, but to all Canadian businesses that rely on automatic coin acceptance."
She listed transit authorities, parking lot operators, municipalities, amusement machine owners, retail kiosk operators, carwash operators, laundry machine operators, toll authorities and lottery associations as some of the businesses that will be negatively affected.
CAMA emphasized in its statement that industry experts agree that the Mint's new multi-layer plating technology will cause coin-acceptance issues as a result of the not-so-subtle differences between the new steel-core coins and Canada's existing coins, which it says have worked flawlessly in vending machines. CAMA estimates the conversion expense will cost its members substantial time and financial resources associated with software and hardware upgrades.
Established in 1953, CAMA has more than 250 members and represents the interests of vending operators, OCS providers, machine manufacturers and product and service suppliers throughout Canada