PERL & Open For Business
OBIAA is a catalyst for positive community and economic change, enabling growth in Ontario BIAs.
In 2013, OBIAA worked with the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG) (formerly the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure) at the Open For Business Roundtable, providing an opportunity to address five (5) immediate priorities with a number of provincial ministries.
Through the Open For Business process we presented five (5) priorities that we believed aided our BIA members and their members (Main Street Ontario).
Formed in 2001, the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) has focused on building the capacity of our BIAs through advocacy, networking and education.
The OBIAA Board of Directors works closely with liaison representatives from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG) and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS). Our Provincial liaisons are invaluable members who enhance sharing and understanding the concerns of local business in our BIAs across Ontario.
RESILIENCE…this is a word that embodies Ontario’s main streets, downtowns and uptowns. No matter what you call them; Ontario’s history is based on the formation of towns, cities and villages who all have a central business district. These areas have survived and thrived through many industry changes, from the early day mills…lumber, grist and wool, to mining and manufacturing. Our downtowns have continued to be the backbone of our economy. The time is now to support, educate, communicate and invest back into our BIAs.
Business Improvement Areas, in most cases, represent ‘Main Street Ontario’, the economic backbone of the province. In the 1950’s and 1960’s planning departments in municipalities across the province were encouraging the growth of regional malls. As growth in strip malls, regional malls and suburbs developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s interests moved away from the traditional main street. As a result the heart of our communities began to crumble. Several leaders of the main street community approached the province and the innovative, cutting edge and supportive BIA legislation was added to the Municipal Act.
Through the BIA legislation, property owners and their tenants come together to create vibrant community cores. By providing the tools to position themselves for the new economy, BIAs continue to adapt themselves to the changing world, including digital marketing and other challenges and opportunities.
OBIAA meets annually with the Planning, Environment, Resources and Land (PERL) Provincial Deputy Ministries and Assistant Deputy Ministers encouraging understanding and recognition of the paradigms facing ‘Main Street’ Ontario.