Business Improvement Area Consultation Paper

The Ontario Business Improvement Area Associations (OBIAA) released a consultation paper Municipal Act: An Act in Three Parts which among other things, calls for a separate act governing BIAs.  

The paper identifies four challenges with the Municipal Act, where BIAs are currently defined (sections 204-215):

  1. It was written and retrofitted from a time when municipalities gathered commercial tenancy data, which is no longer the case since the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) was created.
  2. The Act does not distinguish the BIA Local Board from other Local Boards and does not acknowledge or support the fact that the BIA Local Board raises its own funds through a municipal levy for the betterment of the whole community. 
  3. The BIA sections of the Act does not recognize the changing landscape of modern business and the question of who is eligible to vote and/or sit on the BIA Board is problematic. 
  4. Municipalities establish the Local Board, yet there exists no direct link to ensuring the effective governance of their BIA Local Board.

We are reviewing the paper and want to hear your feedback on the state of the relationship between municipalities and their local BIAs.  We encourage members to check out the discussion in our online forum.