The Toronto Dollar, founded in December 1998, is a paper local currency used in Toronto, Ontario and backed by the Canadian dollar. The Family Life Foundation of Willowdale—a registered Canadian Charity—then chaired by the Rev. Lindsay G. King (Minister of Willowdale United Church) was one of the sponsors of the Toronto Dollar system. The Rev. King was present at the founding of the TD, at which the Toronto Mayor, Mel Lastman, bought the first Toronto Dollars.
The currency is administered by Toronto Dollar Community Projects Inc., a not-for-profit community group, and is a project of St. Lawrence Works.
The currency can be purchased by anyone at a number of locations at a 1-for-1 rate. Local businesses can agree to accept the currency at par with the Canadian dollar. Merchants are free to exchange Toronto dollars for Canadian dollars twice a month, at the rate of 90 cents to the dollar.
In 2012/2013 the group announced that the "Toronto Dollar organization has had to suspend sales of Toronto Dollars due to lack of volunteers and the lack of infrastructure to support the work."
Charity and poverty reduction
The Toronto Dollar varies from most local currencies in that 10% of the funds used when purchasing or redeeming the currency are allocated to benefit community initiatives and groups, particularly those who are on low incomes, unemployed or homeless. As of 2008, the Toronto dollar has helped to raise and donate over $110,000 for local charities, and has given grants to at least 35 different organizations.
The Toronto Dollar also provides an incentive for productivity for welfare recipients: Toronto dollars can be given as gifts to welfare recipients who perform volunteer work for charitable and non-profit organizations, and such gifts do not affect welfare benefits.
The Toronto Dollar organization has had to suspend sales of Toronto Dollars due to lack of volunteers and the lack of infrastructure to support the work.
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