Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is made up of commercial and industrial property owners and their non-residential tenants who join together under a volunteer Board of Management (BIA Board) to carry out improvements and promote economic development within their designated area.
There are currently 83 BIAs in the City of Toronto. They work in partnership with the City to enhance and promote business areas as safe, vibrant places to do business, unique destinations for tourists and focal points for neighbourhood activity.
Administration and strategic management of a BIA is the responsibility of the BIA Board. Among their responsibilities, BIA Boards:
- Oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally-owned land, buildings and structures in the business improvement area
- Promote the business improvement area as a business, employment, tourist or shopping area
- Undertake safety, security and crime-prevention initiatives
- Prepare strategic plans to address BIA issues
- Advocate on behalf of the interests of the BIA, subject to certain limits contained in Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 19, Business Improvement Areas
The financing of BIA operating budgets is raised by a special property tax levy on the commercial and industrial properties within the BIA boundary. The City funds a portion of capital projects undertaken by BIAs for streetscaping under the BIA Capital Cost-Sharing Program, an incentive program offered to the City’s BIAs that leverages investments from BIAs to improve, beautify, enhance and brand Toronto’s unique neighbourhoods. Find out about BIA Financial Incentive Programs offered by the City.
BIA Boards are established by City Council as City Boards under the City of Toronto Act, 2006 in accordance with Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 19, Business Improvement Areas, which sets out procedures for the establishment and operation of BIA Boards and the composition of each BIA Board.
BIA Boards are composed of public directors and City Councillors. The public directors are elected by the BIA membership and recommended to the Community Council in which the BIA is located for appointment. If a BIA is located within the geographic area of more than one Community Council, Council shall appoint the directors. The Councillors for the wards in which a BIA is located are Board directors by-right-of-office. BIA Board Chairs are elected by the BIA Board directors.
Find out about opportunities to serve on a BIA Board of Management.
Key Council Decisions
- City Council adopted CC1.1: Recalibrating City Council’s Governance System for 26 Members (December 2018)
- City Council adopted PG31.6: Amendments to the Commercial Facade Improvement Program and Applicable Community Improvement Plan (July 2018)
- City Council adopted ED22.9: Amendments to Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 19, Business Improvement Areas (July 2017)
- City Council adopted ED22.10: Amendments to the Business Improvement Area (BIA) Capital Cost-Share Program Guidelines (July 2017)
Search for other City Council decisions about BIAs.