Community Dollars

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  • Population of Comox Valley ~65,000, Population of CB ~160,000


  • 1. Columbia Community Dollars
  • 2. Why local currency?
    Keeps money in our communities
    Increases overall spending power
    Increases local business revenue
    Encourages collaboration
    Brings us together to build a stronger, more resilient Basin economy
  • 3. Why the Community Way model?
    Building on success. This system has been successfully running in the Comox Valley since 2008.
    Created by Michael Linton, designer of the LETSystem, who is mentoring the Columbia Community Dollar Development Group.
    Built-in mechanism to ensure sustainability
    Based on Open Money principles
  • 4. Open Money
    We believe that the problems that come from conventional money can be resolved with open money systems.
    Where conventional money is scarce and expensive, the new money is sufficient and free.
    Where conventional money is created by central banks, new money is issued by us, as promises to redeem - our money is our word.
    Where conventional money flows erratically in and out of our communities, creating dependencies that are harmful to the economy, society and nature, the new complementary money re-circulates, enabling business and trade.
  • 5. Who are we?
    • KimberleyLETS
    • 6. Transition Nelson
    • 7. FERNS
    • 8. Open Money (Community Way)
    The Community Dollars Development Group consists of community currency advocates from throughout B.C..
  • 9. Where is this happening?
    Launched initially in:
    Other Basin communities have expressed interest, including: Invermere, Cranbrook, Kaslo, Creston, Rossland, Nakusp and Valemount.
    Eventually, Community Dollars will be Basin-wide!
  • 12. The Money
    C$1 = CDN$1
    Features images of local mountains and wildlife from local photographers
    Includes security features
    C$250,000 will be available April 2011
    Valid at participating businesses in communities throughout the Basin
  • 13. So how does it work?
  • 14. Creating the money
    Businesses issuethe currency by making a donation in C$ to a community group(s) of their choice
    We recommend that businesses donate C$1000 per FTE, plus a one-time 10%
    administration fee
    • If the businesses donates to a registered charity, the donation is tax-deductable.
    • 15. No hard cash has changed hands at this point.
  • Honouring C$
    When a business makes a donation in C$, they also make a commitment to accept C$
    The amount is set as a % of the total sale
    Businesses are obliged to honour the money for as long as their Community Dollar account is in the negative
    Accounts may remain negative in perpetuity – no interest is charged on balances.
  • 16. What percentage to accept?
    Every business has different operating margins, and the % of C$ they can accept, and on what products, is at the discretion of the business
    Businesses should ensure that all applicable tax and overhead costs are covered in CDN$.
    • A restaurant may be able to accept 50%, while a grocery store may only be able to accept 20%
    • 17. If necessary, certain low-margin goods or services may be excluded altogether.
  • What percentage to accept?
    The key is to find an arrangement that suits your business!
  • 18. Receiving the money
    Any community group – be it a local charity, a school, a sports team, a non-profit or community event planning committee can register
    They will be the first beneficiaries of C$
    Active community groups may solicit donations from businesses in C$, rather than CAD$
    C$ may be withdrawn from accounts by visiting Change Agents
  • 19. Moving the money
    Community Groups
    C$ makes it easier than ever to raise funds locally
    Community groups can then:
    Spend C$ at participating businesses
    Reward volunteers with C$ to thank them for their time and commitment, and top up staff salaries or offer bonuses
    Exchange C$ for CAD$ with the public
  • 20. Moving the money
    There are many way Local Businesses can move Community Dollars including:
    • Spend C$ at other participating businesses
    • 21. Offer C$ as change to customers
    • 22. Re-donate C$ to another community group
    • 23. Employ local people to do things your business needs: that new paint job, a professional website, a snazzy new logo
    • 24. Reward staff by offering them bonuses or top up salaries in C$
  • Moving the money
    Individuals participate byspending C$!
    How do you get them?
    • Asking businesses for change in C$
    • 25. Accepting C$ as a bonus, or as a portion of or top-up to wages
    • 26. Accepting C$ as a reward for volunteer work
    But, the best wayis by:
  • 27. Exchanging CAD$ for C$
    Individuals can exchange CDN$ for C$ with groups they’d like to support, and then spend those C$ at participating businesses.
    This gives community groups the CDN$ they need to do their vital work, and allows individuals to support their favourite group while getting C$ in return, which they can then spend locally.
    Visit a Change Agent in your community to make an exchange.
    Making a commitment to exchange CDN$ for C$ each month is an investment in the well-being of your community.
    Individual pledges to exchange CDN$ for C$ can be made at
  • 28. What about taxes?
    What does the CRA care about?
    • Are people and businesses paying their taxes?
    • 29. Are people and businesses paying their taxes?
    • 30. Are people and businesses paying their taxes?
    Community currencies are not a new concept.
    The CRA has clarified their position on barter systems and community currencies, and there is no issue, provided that all applicable taxes are paid.
  • 31.
  • 32. Benefits for business
    • Brings in new customers
    • 33. Increases sales from existing customers
    • 34. Encourages customer loyalty
    • 35. Contractor and employee wages can be topped up or paid partially in C$
    • 36. Makes charitable giving easier
    • 37. Additional promotion and recognition of your business
  • Benefits for community groups
    • Provides an easy, low-cost and low-effort way to raise core operating funds
    • 38. Increases individual and business donations
    • 39. Increases the spending power of your group
    • 40. C$ donations may be used as matching funds in grant applications
    • 41. Builds strong community relationships
    • 42. Provides additional promotion of your group and its mission
  • Benefits for individuals and the community
    • Makes charitable giving easier
    • 43. The overall purchasing power of individuals in the community increases
    • 44. People support businesses owned by, or employing friends and neighbours
    • 45. Brings us together to build a stronger, more resilient Basin economy
    • 46. Promotes local shopping, which has many economic and environmental benefits
  • What’s Next?
    • Launch during Earth Day celebrations, April 2011
    • 47. Continue registering businesses and community groups
    • 48. Provide training on software and more information sessions – weekly online workshops available
    • 49. C$ will be at the Kimberley Market all summer
    Start using Community Dollars!
  • 50. Thanks for coming!
    For more information or to register, visit