OBIAA is renowned and respected across Ontario and beyond, as a dynamic and sustainable, highly functioning organization, providing leadership, advocacy and world-class resources.  OBIAA is a catalyst for positive community and economic change, enabling growth in Ontario BIAs.

As with many not-for-profit organizations across the province and country, the COVID19 pandemic has placed significant challenges and pressures on our Association and our members. The impact of COVID is ever changing and difficult to determine what the state of the downtowns will be post pandemic, but we recognize that it will look significantly different than before.


OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario.  The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships.  OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.

OBIAA incorporated in 2001, collectively represents more than 145 part-time staff, approximately 200 full-time staff with a combined budget of more than $70 Million Dollars that is spent keeping Ontario’s communities vital. There are more than 110,000 businesses that are represented within Ontario’s more than 300 BIAs and greater than 76,500 property owners with a collective assessment of 85B.

The first BIA Legislation in the world was created in 1970 in a partnership with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (the Government of Ontario), Bloor West Village and the City of Toronto.

OBIAA’s Board of Directors believes in planning for the future and in the strength of Strategic Planning.  The Board came together in October of 2019, in Niagara Falls, ON, to develop the 2020-2023 Strategic Action Plan.  OBIAA continues to reflect on the growth of the association through Strategic Planning, therefore this document builds on previous Strategic Planning conducted in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2016.  The importance of maintaining the core values of OBIAA and Ontario’s BIAs must be balanced with the opportunities that are being identified as new relationships across provincial ministries and partner organizations are being developed.

“In 2016, OBIAA undertook the Return on Investment project in partnership with TABIA. A project funded by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to establish collective indicators for BIAs across the province and gather raw data to provide metrics around the role BIAs play in local communities. The findings coming out of this project, called for the need to review what we’ve accomplished to date in this strategic plan cycle, and take stock on where we’re going.”

OBIAA has championed Accessibility, the Return on Investment of BIAs and Digital Main Street (through the Main Street Initiative).  While the basic mandates and key issues remain the same, the awareness, through our successful projects, of OBIAA and Ontario’s BIAs has grown.

Project Scope

Ontario BIA Association is seeking a Consultant/Firm to facilitate and develop an integrated strategy and operational plan that will focus on both COVID recovery as well as building upon the pre-pandemic foundational work to help advance the organization. The proponent will work closely with the board of Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), OBIAA members and a strategic planning advisory committee to the boards, and will engage and gather input from OBIAA staff, members, other downtown and community stakeholders to create a strategic plan, goals and implementation plan that will advance Ontario BIA Association and guide OBIAA for the next 5 years.

Key deliverables include:

Phase 1 – Board and Member Engagement 

  • Establish and facilitate engagement session(s) that includes but is not limited to the OBIAA board, the advisory team, OBIAA members, OBIAA staff, other stakeholder groups and Ministry Liaisons. These may include (virtual or in person) round table discussions, focus groups, on-line surveys, etc.) to gather input, ideas and identify common areas where OBIAA and partners can work together to achieve its strategic goals.
  • Facilitate engagement session(s) and analyze and interpret data received that will inform the strategy and help map out OBIAA’s future.
  • Review OBIAA’s vision, mission and core values and update as required to ensure they are relevant and OBIAA remains current and responsive to opportunities, challenges and the needs of our members while creating a sustainability plan.
  • Provide a summary report and presentation of Phase 1 work to the OBIAA board and strategic planning advisory committee.

Phase 2 – Final Strategy, Implementation Plan, Governance and Resources

Create the final strategy and implementation plan to be executed. This plan will include but is not limited to the following:

  • Identify and recommend any changes, if required, in the governance structure of both OBIAA boards and identify how the boards should operate, and how OBIAA and the board should interact and work together to achieve the strategic goals, while having clearly understood mandates and objectives. This includes the make-up and representation of board membership and any associated policy and committee updates required and are permitted under the Ontario Non-Profit Corporation Act (ONCA) for OBIAA.
  • Review and recommend financial, human resources and changes required (if any) to the organizational structure to deliver programming that fulfills our members’ needs and will advance the downtown.
  • Identify and recommend programs that are impactful and offer good value for our members. This includes recommending any new programs, as well as those that we should discontinue, enhance and/or partner or offload to other organizations.
  • Develop annual operational and programming plans for the next 5 years, aligned with the strategy with associated key performance measures and recommended methods of tracking metrics.
  • Provide a final report that includes a high-level executive summary along with a detailed strategy and implementation plan that can be available publicly. A minimum of 1 final presentation may be required to the OBIAA boards, Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, staff, members, and others as required.

Please note throughout the project the consultant will be expected to deliver presentations with a minimum of 2 presentations in total. Each one will occur at the end of each phase of the project. However, if more presentations are requested the consultant should factor that into their fee structure.

Reporting, Roles and Responsibilities

The Consultant will report directly to the OBIAA Board Executive and the Ontario BIA Association Executive Director.

The Ontario BIA Association Executive Director will be responsible for the day-to-day project management of the strategic planning process, working closely with the Consultant and will provide and arrange for logistical support for the board and the consultant as needed.

The Strategic Planning Advisory Committee will be a group of BIA Stakeholders and/or Board Members who will help guide and advise the Boards, provide input and ideas for consideration, and identify areas of mutual interest and benefit as it relates to the strategy and its implementation.

The OBIAA Board will approve and adopt the final strategy and implementation plan.

Project Schedule

Date Deliverable
September 15, 2023 Call for Request for Proposals (RFP)
October 15, 2023, at 5:00pm EST RFP closes
October 15 – 25, 2023 Proposals reviewed and evaluated
November 1, 2023 Notify successful candidate and commence project
November 1 – February 26, 2024 Completion of Phase 1 and interim report/presentation to Board and Executive Committee for review and input
March 25, 2024 Draft of strategic highlights report/presentation to Boards and Advisory Committee
April 23, 2024 Completion of the draft strategy, implementation plan and presentations to Boards and Executive Committee for input and making modifications as required before finalizing
April 30, 2024 Completion of Phase 3 – Present the final strategy and implementation plan for board approval
May 3, 2024 Presentation and roll out of the strategy and implementation plan to OBIAA members, partners and public

Qualifications of Proponent

The successful proponent will be Ontario-based and will have the following:

  • Strong experience in developing business and marketing plans for business to consumer and business to business.
  • Advanced and demonstrated operational and strategic planning experience, including identifying measurable key performance indicators.
  • Proven experience in stakeholder engagement including developing a community engagement plan and coordinating and facilitating engagement tactics – virtually and in-person.
  • Experience working with board and committees.
  • Understanding of Business Improvement Associations and how they operate under the Ontario Municipal Act.
  • Economic and business development experience.
  • Relevant academic qualifications.

Proposal Evaluation

Proposals should highlight the consultant’s:

  • Demonstrated work in organizational development including effectiveness, efficiencies, and enhanced performance.
  • Relevant experience and success in strategy and implementation planning including any references and level of satisfaction of current/past client experience.
  • Previous community and stakeholder engagement experience, including tactics and methodologies used.
  • Overall approach and methodology to be used in creating OBIAA’s strategic and operational plan.
  • Complete proposal.

Proposal Submission Requirements 

Proposal submissions should be accompanied by a covering letter summarizing your understanding of the project and the services to be provided. Also include names of all individuals and their company name (if subcontracting any project work) who will be participating and working with the proponent. The person signing the covering letter must be authorized to bind the consultancy. The proposal should be a maximum of 10 pages, plus CVs.

The proposal will include: 

  • Detailed CV of each individual working on the project and providing service (including any subcontractors and their firm’s name), along with their qualifications and experience
  • Critical path that clearly identifies the project tasks and timelines.
  • Any previous experience and relevant projects that have been carried out.
  • A fee schedule including deliverables, hours, rate/hour and total cost to complete the work in each phase of the project.
  • Total costs must include all service costs and reimbursable expenses. No additional charges will be considered unless there is a change in the scope of work that has been mutually agreed upon by both parties in writing.
  • Minimum of three references detailing the work the consultant and any subcontractors have carried out.
  • Must be addressed to Ontario BIA Association and sent electronically in PDF format.
  • Proposal submissions will be received up to October 15, 2023, at or before 5:00pm EST.


Questions should be directed to Kay Matthews, Executive Director between September 15-25, 2023.

The goal will be to answer each question within two working days of its receipt. These questions and answers will be posted regularly at up until October 15, 2023, for all bidders to access.

OBIAA Strategic Plan RFP 2023

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