The Local Economy tour to Cochrane, Alberta on Wednesday September 13 will showcase an amazing local currency initiative involving the Town, area business owners and ATB Financial. Unlike other local or complementary currencies, this paper bill comes with a 1:1 Canadian dollar rate!

It’s a fact, for every $1 spent locally 30 more cents stays in the local economy. So for the Town of Cochrane, just west of Calgary, when 45 percent of its population is traveling to Calgary for work (and perhaps grabbing their groceries in the City), the potential economic leakage is significant.

After seven years in the making, this past spring the Town of Cochrane, ATB Financial and the Cochrane Monetary Foundation (a not for profit group of local business owners) launched Cochrane Dollars. 100,000 bills were printed with a total face value of $703,000, and more than 40 area businesses have already signed up to accept them.

“Cochrane Dollars have real value to business owners and consumers. ATB’s support of the project ensured that $1 Cochrane Dollar is the equivalent of $1 Canadian Dollar, which removed any risk for participating business owners. The big picture is continuing to educate consumers about their purchasing power to stimulate local economic activity,” explains Town of Cochrane Economic Development Manager Mike Korman.

Alberta CARES for local economies

Growing local economies is on the radar of the provincial government, and the Cochrane Dollars initiative was one of the first seven funding recipients of the Alberta Jobs Plan Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program.

“So much of Alberta’s economic strength and entrepreneurial drive is centered in our province’s smaller cities and towns. Every region of Alberta brings multiple strengths to our way of life, whether in energy, agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism, or in other areas. This funding will help communities with common interests tackle economic development projects that they might not have been able to individually. Through these projects local leaders are working together to grow and diversify our economy, and make life better for Alberta families,” sharesEconoUs speaker and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to see Calgary Region municipalities breaking new ground in creating community-based economic development solutions!


The Cochrane Dollars project received funding from the Alberta Government’s Community & Regional Economic Supports (CARES) program. Cochrane Mayor Ivan Brooker (left) with EconoUs2017 speakers and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous at the launch event on May 19, 2017.