What is a BIA?

Benefits of a BIA

By creating a strong and distinct image for a neighbourhood shopping area and marketing it effectively, the main benefits of a BIA start with the fact that it can better compete in an age of shopping malls, big-box retailing and e-commerce.

BIAs can be catalysts for civic improvement and significant contributors to the City’s economy and the quality of life of our neighbourhoods. In order to help local commercial areas create thriving, competitive and safe business areas, the City of Toronto, through the Economic Development & Culture Division, offers a number of assistance programs to BIAs.

One of the more successful BIA programs is the Capital Cost-share Program, which provides matching funding to BIAs for streetscape beautification projects. These projects help create a more attractive and marketable image for the area and improve the atmosphere in neighbourhoods.

Financial assistance is also available to BIAs to implement mural projects; commercial façade improvements and streetscape master plans.

BIAs improve their local economies through activities such as:

  • Street and sidewalk maintenance and capital improvements
  • Promotion of the BIA as a business, employment, tourist or shopping area (business directories, festivals, advertising)
  • Hosting neighbourhood festivals and events
  • Safety, security and crime prevention initiatives
  • Graffiti and poster removal services respecting building facades visible from the street
  • Strategic plans for business recruitment, market studies and capital improvements
  • Advocate on behalf of their membership as a unified voice