cashless society

Toronto businesses that have gone cashless are being accused of discrimination

Cash seems to be quickly becoming a thing of the past, with most people opting to use cards instead of carrying around clunky change. But, not everyone has the luxury of giving up cash completely.

With some Toronto businesses deciding to go cashless in favour of the card-carrying trend, people are concerned that they're discriminating against individuals who are unable to get a credit or debit card.

One Twitter user took to social media after an experience she had at the newly opened Stackt Market—a local market that has decided to accept only cards for environmental reasons.

But Stackt Market isn't the only local vendor saying good-bye to cash, Kit and Ace, IQ Food Co. and a Toronto-based music festival have all gone cash-free.

Even the TTC looked into eliminating cash payments and sticking to Presto for all fares.

As cash-free transactions become increasingly popular throughout the city, some people may be excluded from accessing these businesses.

Many low-income individuals are paid in only cash and some are unable to open a bank account or get approved for a credit card because of a lack of funds.

By going cashless, businesses are excluding those without cards—some of which are people of colour, immigrants and homeless people.

As the number of cashless businesses continues to grow, many places in the U.S. have made discrimination based on payment type illegal

Cities like Washington D.C., San Francisco and Chicago have created legislation that protects a consumer's right to choice of payment.

In Canada, the Human Rights Act prohibits businesses from denying anyone access to any goods, services or facilities based of a number of discriminatory factors including race, religion or age. However, there's no specific mention of discrimination of payment choice. 

Not only are more Toronto businesses opting out of cash, Canada as a whole is becoming increasingly card-friendly.

Canada was ranked as the world's most cashless country by trading site Forex Bonuses in 2017. According to the study, it's predicted that cashless societies could exist as early as 2022.

As cash free businesses become more popular in Toronto, many are calling on the importance of remembering those who don't have access to cards and to prevent further discrimination against low-income people before physical money is eliminated completely.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim at Stackt Market. 


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