Is it really legal to print your own currency?
It certainly is. It's a common misconception that only national governments are allowed to print money, but this just isn't the case. Every government, community, organization, and individual has the right to produce their own money. In fact, when you write a check that's exactly what you're doing. The difficult part is getting people to accept that your money is valuable. Legally, Salt Spring Dollars are considered gift certificates, but unlike typical gift certificates accepted by one business, these are accepted by most businesses on Salt Spring Island- a community gift certificate if you will.
What makes your money valuable? Isn't it just paper?
The important value of any currency is that you can trade it for goods and services. Salt Spring Dollars are accepted by almost every single business. That makes them valuable.
What does the symbol "$$" mean?
$$ is a symbol combining two Ss and two Is, which stands for "Salt Spring Island Issued", just like "CA$" means Canadian dollar and "US$" means United States dollar.
How much are Salt Spring Dollars worth?
$$1.00 = CA$1.00 which means the Salt Spring Dollar is pegged to the Canadian dollar. Many countries peg their currencies to other, larger countries such as the United States dollar. Since the Canadian dollar has been stronger than the US dollar in recent years, and since Salt Spring Island exists within the Canadian economy, it's been a good choice for us.
How long have Salt Spring Dollars been available?
We initially launched the currency program in 2001 — one of the longest running community currencies in North America!
Why doesn't everyone do this?
It is a lot of work. Lots of meetings, initial fund raising, design, community and business engagement, arranging protocols and safe storage locations, not to mention convincing conservtive financial institutions and businesses to support the effort. Even so, we're very big fans of local currency and encourage other communities to create their own!
Is Salt Spring the only community with a local currency?
No, in fact many communities throughout Canada, the United States, and the world have their own printed community currency. Others have electronic barter exchanges or time banks, and some combinations of all of them. Salt Spring Dollars are unique to the extent that our currency is accepted by all the banks and nearly every business in the community. Salt Spring Dollars are known the world around as an unusually successful local currency.
Where do I get Salt Spring Dollars?
See our page on Purchasing Salt Spring Dollars.
What do I do when I have them?
Spend them! Donate them! Gift them! They're money and you can use them to buy groceries, meals, books, gas, clothes, lodging, accounting, housewares, massage, building supplies, electronics, haircuts, wine, insurance, dry cleaning, jewelry, and basically anything else available on the island.
If you're a visitor, take some home and put them in your scrap book or on the wall to remind you of your visit.
How does this help the community?
Salt Spring Dollars help our island in a number of ways:
Do Salt Spring Dollars ever expire?
No. The original printing in 2001 had expiration dates but because of community response we changed that policy.
Can Salt Spring Dollars be counterfeited?
Without being too overconfident, Salt Spring Dollars are among the most secure documents printed anywhere in the world. In addition to using special paper, unique serial numbers and gold overfoil printing, we have arranged hidden security holograms that even the Canadian and United States government don't include, and counterfeiters would have much more reason to try to fake those currencies than ours. Nonetheless we're always vigilant and take continuous active measures to protect the security and trust of our bills.
How can my business arrange to accept Salt Spring Dollars?
Just start accepting them. If your business banks with any of the financial institutions on Salt Spring Island, you can deposit Salt Spring Dollars directly right into your Canadian Dollar accounts. If you'd like our "We Accept Salt Spring Dollars" cards for your counter top, please Contact Us.
How can I buy keepsake specimens?
We sell circulating and collectors' sets of Salt Spring Dollars here on this website. You can also buy circulating currency at face value from almost any business on the island.
I have a question you didn't answer here on the website. How can I get an answer?
Please Contact Us or leave a message at 250-538-4288 and someone will get back with an answer.
What is your refund and return policy?
We refund 100%, no questions asked, upon receipt of the returned product.