What is a BIA?
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a "made in Ontario" innovation that allows local business people and commercial property owners and tenants to join together and, with the support of the municipality, to organize, finance, and carry out physical improvements and promote economic development in their district.
Traditionally, a BIA is a body established by a municipality using the specific business improvement area provisions in the Municipal Act, 2001. It is governed by a board of management.
BIA Membership and Funding
Once a traditional BIA is approved by municipal council, businesses within its boundaries become members and pay the BIA levy along with their property taxes. A traditional BIA view is that this structure reflects the principle that all who benefit should be required to bear their fair share of the cost of the program. In addition, the arrangement provides a secure source of funding for BIA activities.
In addition, many BIAs undertake modest or extensive public and private fundraising to raise funds for special events or activities.
Map of the Downtown St. Catharines BIA