A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a “made-in-Ontario” innovation that allows local businesspeople and commercial property owners and tenants to work together and, through Municipal By-Law and the Ontario Municipal Act, organize, finance, and carry out physical improvements while promoting economic development in their district.  BIAs are a unique private-public partnership that raises funds, by levy upon rateable property in the improvement area, unlike other Local Boards. The special levy is used for the betterment of the community and provide specific benefit to:

  • Business Operators – improved atmosphere and ambience, whether they are retail, service, professional or property owner.
  • Employees and Employment – a supportive community to play, live and work in as well as an employment centre.
  • Property Owners – potential to increase property values and occupancy as well as attracting a tenant that adds to the business mosaic of the area.
  • Community – a more vibrant community, a more prosperous local economy, and a potential to increase residential property values, as many realtors advertise and value properties for sale within walking distance of the downtown/main street/BIA.
  • Municipality and Province – benefit from the partnership as BIAs continue to prove they are strong local economic engines, as it encourages entrepreneurship, innovation, and free enterprise.
  • Housing – many of our main streets have existing rental accommodations and second floor apartments.

The Ontario BIA Association has been advocating for changes to the Municipal Act for many years and determined, after a comprehensive review, that changes to the Municipal Act over the years have challenged BIAs and their Municipalities to work effectively. Once you have had a chance to review the attached document, we welcome any comments, feedback or suggestions and your support in developing a stand-alone Act clarifying and enabling BIAs to invest in communities.

We invite you to:

  1. Seek a Resolution from your Council and/or Board
  2. Send OBIAA a Letter of Support

OBIAA – Municipal Act for BIAs – Introduction

OBIAA 2023-2024 BIA Municipal Act Consultation Report – FOR DISTRIBUTION

OBIAA – Municipal Act for BIAs – Templated Letter of Support


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