Start a BIA

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the Municipality to create thriving and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses. By working collectively as a BIA, local businesses have the resource capacity (funds and people) to actively enhance the quality of life in their local neighbourhood and the Municipality as a whole.

A local municipality may designate an area as an improvement area and may establish a board of management, to oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally-owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided at the expense of the municipality generally; and to promote the area as a business or shopping area.

Ontario BIAs fall under provincial legislation and are regulated under the Municipal Act, therefore they are a Corporation of the Municipality.  BIAs are NOT not-for-profit corporations under the Ontario Corporations Act and should not be confused with one.  A BIA has unique and specific connections with the municipality as a private-public partnership, one that supports community and economic development with funds raised solely for that work outside of the general taxpayers.

What is a BIA Video

In 2023, OBIAA released the below video.

This 10-minute video will provide your Board, Members, and Council with the basic information on Business Improvement Areas.  We encourage you to share it

Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A BIA


Starting a BIA begins with communication and an expressed need.
OBIAA can help.

BIAs successfully help communities to be vital in the province of Ontario since 1970. The Municipal Act defines a step-by-step process to establish a new BIA.

  • Establish the need.
  • Communicate with interested parties.
  • Establish a steering committee.
  • Set goals and objectives.
  • Preliminary budget proposal.
  • Determine proposed boundaries.
  • Formalize request to your municipality.
  • Provide required notices.
  • Pass required bylaw.
  • Success! You’re now a proud founder of a BIA.​

Still have questions?

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