Hamilton, ON—The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) and the Hamilton Host BIAs, as well as our Sponsors and Trade Show Partners, invite you to join us for the BIA Conference in Hamilton, Ontario. The 2020 BIA Conference was canceled, due to the pandemic, and we are proud to be hosting our very first hybrid Conference this autumn.

The Conference is presented with the goal of providing BIAs and members the opportunity to hear from subject matter experts and network with others who share the same passion for creating a vibrant people-place in their core area. Delegates can expect to attend sessions both in-person and virtually with topics ranging from working with your local police, forward visioning, events post COVID to homelessness in our BIAs.

2020 marked the 50th Anniversary of the BIA legislation which started with Bloor West Village, paving the way for more than 300 BIAs across Ontario and 200+ more across Canada. This groundbreaking legislation has been duplicated around the world as each Business Improvement Area supports local economic development efforts to benefit business operators, property owners, surrounding neighbourhoods and the wider community; fostering economic growth, stability and revitalization. This year’s conference is appropriately themed “The Golden Age of BIAs: 50 Years of Connecting People and Place” featuring a historical reel of neighbourhood transformations over time.

Keynote speakers include Tony Chapman, a marketing consultant, public figure and well-known keynote speaker, Iain de Jong, an author and CEO of OrgCode Consulting Inc.

Over the three (3) days, delegates will participate in more than 17 concurrent sessions, including on-the-ground mobile tours of Downtown Hamilton, International Village, Waterdown, and more. OBIAA aims to provide an interactive Conference which will provide delegates with hands-on tips, tools, and data to support community building contributing to the success of their area.

Each year, OBIAA holds their Awards Night and this year the awards will be held during a Black and Gold, “I Believe” themed Gala. Due to having to cancel our 2020 Conference, we will be presenting our 2020 Awards Program alongside a specially crafted 2021 Program, which highlights COVID-specific awards. This Awards gala will announce innovations from 30+ BIAs across the province, recognize those who have accomplished outstanding things during the pandemic and fifteen (15) recipients will walk away with a new and unique locally made award.

Join OBIAA as we discuss what is in store for the next 50 years.

The conference planning team consists of OBIAA Staff and our Conference and Host Committees. Those interested in attending the conference can register here or on the OBIAA website.

Quick Facts about BIAs

  • The first BIA was formed in Bloor West Village in 1970
  • BIAs are self-funded Local Boards of Council(s)
  • BIAs are governed by the Ontario Municipal Act (Sections 204-216)
  • There are approximately 310 BIAs in Ontario (the largest amount in Canada)
  • The legislation has inspired “Downtown Revitalization” across the world with BIDs, BIAsand BIZs in many countries around the world, including the US, the Great Britain, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, India and China

Quick Facts about the 2021 BIA Conference

  • More than 120 delegates are expected over the 4 days
  • Three (3) Keynote Speakers
  • 17 Concurrent Sessions with in-person sessions streamed online
  • Interactive Mobiles of local areas
  • Sunday Dinner at the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s outdoor patio
  • Ten (10) Awards will be presented, including the Business Retention, Recruitment + Expansion; Special Events + Promotions (Large & Small); Marketing + Communications (Large & Small); Bricks + Mortar; Streetscaping + Public Realm Improvements (Large & Small); Pinnacle Award; and the Alex Ling Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Three (3) unique to 2021 Awards, Spirit; Best Initiative; Best Innovative Approach to Communicating with Members
  • BIA Conference Website


The Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), since 2001, acts as an important resource for education, OBIAA is the network that represents the more than 300 unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.

For more information, please contact:
Kay Matthews, Executive Director
Ontario BIA Association
Toll-free: 1-866-807-2227
Office: 905-271-7222
[email protected]

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