Hamilton Road BIA

Frequently Asked Questions

By now, most of us have at least heard of a Business Improvement Area but what exactly is a BIA and what does it do?


What are the benefits of a Business Improvement Area (BIA)?

A BIA is a collective of local businesses within a defined geographic area that fund, organize and facilitate civic improvements

to enhance the quality of a neighbourhood.

BIAs also have access to municipal, provincial and federal grant and financial incentive programs to help fund an array of projects including festivals, market research and neighbourhood beautification.

Widespread and on-going support and collaboration from local business and property owners is essential to the success of any BIA.


What is a BIA?

A BIA is a legal organization mandated by provincial legislation that acts as a unified business voice to address issues on behalf of its members. A BIA is made up of local business owners and commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the city to create, organize, finance and implement physical improvements and promote economic development.

How does an area become a BIA?

Establishing a BIA is a process and the decision to establish a BIA can only be made by those who own or lease commercial property in the area through a majority vote. Upon receiving a majority vote, a by-law is then passed to approve the area as a BIA.

Check out Ontario’s Business Improvement Area Handbook for more information or visit this link to learn more about starting a BIA

How is a BIA funded?

Upon establishing a BIA, all property and business owners within the defined area are automatically members and therefore contribute a special levy (in addition to normal municipal taxes) on property within that area. All members have the opportunity to voice what that levy amount should be. The BIA Board of Management then creates a budget based on the levy amount outlining how the collected funds will be utilized. The budget is submitted and must be approved by the local municipality. Upon municipal approval, the City then collects and distributes the levy to the BIA Board of Management to administer according to its program of activities for the year. 

How does a BIA work?

A BIA is run by a volunteer Board of Management elected by its members as well as any staff deemed necessary. The Board is nominated at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) and, once approved by City Council, serves a four-year term concurrent with the term of Council. The Board works on behalf of its membership and meets regularly to develop budgets, set priorities, implement capital improvements, plan festivals, and promote its business area and community

How does a BIA improve local economy?
  • Street and sidewalk maintenance
  • Promotion of local businesses, employment, tourism
  • Host festivals and events to attract more business
  • Crime prevention and increased safety and security
  • Neighbourhood beautification: graffiti removal, murals, banners etc
  • Advocate on behalf of their members