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POLL: Newmarket says — stores should be forced to accept cash

More than 83 per cent of respondents believe that businesses should not be allowed to refuse cash after resident presses issue
Stock photo/Shutterstock

Local NewmarketToday poll respondents believe that stores should have to accept cash rather than taking electronic payments only.

Newmarket resident Lynn Rae is raising the issue after learning that the Tim Hortons in the Southlake Regional Health Centre does not take cash. She wants to see laws around businesses having to accept cash. Although it is in the federal jurisdiction that currently allows businesses to go cashless, Rae said the provincial and local level should consider laws as well, which has happened in the United States.

NewmarketToday wanted to hear what our readers thought. We asked the question: Should Newmarket retail outlets and businesses be forced to accept cash?

The poll ran from 1/13/2023 to 1/20/2023. Of the 937 votes, 670 came from within the community. The full results are as follows:

Yes, cash is legal tender and no store or business should refuse it. 83.43 % local, 83.78 % total    
No, businesses should have the choice to accept only cards and other electronic payments. 6.57 % local, 7.15 % total    
I am indifferent, there are not enough places refusing cash to impact me. 10.00 % local, 9.07 % total    
  Local   Total

The results are based on an online study of adult readers located in Newmarket. The margin of error — which measures sample variability — is +/- 3.18 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Toronto resident Michael Harvey said he came across the story and felt similarly. He said he recalls not being able to use cash at an IKEA earlier in the pandemic, just after the Bank of Canada released a statement asking businesses to continue accepting it.

As an Ontario Disability Support Program recipient, Harvey said he tries to use cash to help maintain his budget. He said there are many out there who are not technologically inclined, including on the poorer end. 

“It’s ridiculous that people aren’t accepting cash,” he said. “It’s ridiculous to do it when we have so many people at different levels of wealth.” 

Rather than the Bank of Canada releasing a statement, he said the federal government should have stepped in to mandate cash acceptance when it became an issue earlier in the pandemic, he said.

"It's so frustrating."

Rae said she is happy with the reaction the story has received and how much it was shared.

Although she is only aware of two businesses in Newmarket that were cashless, she is concerned that other businesses will follow suit over time. 

She is still waiting to get a deputation before town council on the matter. She said she also hopes to have a conversation with Newmarket-Aurora MP Tony Van Bynen.

"I'm not surprised that most people agree with me about businesses accepting cash," Rae said.

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Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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