A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is an association of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the City to create thriving, competitive, and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses. By working collectively as a BIA, local business have the organizational and funding capacity to be catalysts for civic improvement, enhancing the quality of life in their local neighbourhood and the City as a whole.
BIAs were first created in Toronto. The world’s first BIA was the Bloor West Village BIA, founded in 1970. (The Roncesvalles Village BIA was created in 1984.)
At the recent 40th anniversary celebration of BIAs, then mayor David Miller declared BIAs to be “Toronto’s greatest export.” There are hundreds of BIAs in Canada, over 3200 BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) in the United States, and the BIA model is employed in some fashion in dozens of countries around the world.