What exactly is a BIA? & Accessibility for Businesses

B.I.A. stands for ‘Business Improvement Area’. It is an association comprised of business professionals, within a designated district, who join forces under the approval of the Municipality, in a self-help program purposed at stimulating local trade and commerce. Technically, under the Municipal Act, a BIA utilizes its own budget and resources in an ongoing effort to:

  • Oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally-owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided at the expense of the municipality generally; and
  • To promote the area as a business or shopping area. 2001, c. 25, s. 204 (1). Because each business is a member, the BIA’s effectiveness is not only reliant on its board of management, but also on its members’ active interest and participation.

Once a BIA is approved by the Municipality, every business within its boundaries automatically becomes a member. The main principle being that all businesses who benefit from BIA activities should also partake in their fair share of the cost of the program.

Although a BIA is born out of the retail and professional activities of a main street, it has a profound effect on the surrounding region. If it is alive and well, it becomes the centre for social and community interaction. It has been said that no one person is an island. In a smaller community – the same thing can be said about business. We need each other!  Our region must do more to keep our buildinga full, our consumers intrigued and our businesses prosperous.

Business Accessibility

Currently, 1 in 7 people or 1.85 million Ontarians have a disability. By2036, as the population ages, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Ontarians will have a disability. The LAAC is your Lakeshore Accessibility Advisory Committee and, on your behalf, works towards making the entire Lakeshore area to become totally Accessible for all people of every age and every accessible need! The LAAC has been busy making the Town of Lakeshore one of the most accessible municipalities in Ontario. We have toured all of our parks and are updating playgrounds & washrooms to make them more accessible. Where public washrooms are not available, we havearranged to have the larger, grey port-a-johns in place. These are also handy for new parents to assist their younger children. Take a stroll around Optimist Park to discover the new outdoor exercise equipment that is fully accessible. We invite residents, visitors & business owners to discover the linkswe have compiled on the Town of Lakeshore’s website. Simply, look up Accessibility on www.lakeshore.ca.

Businesses need to learn how to make themselves accessible. All business owners should be aware that the Ontario Government has published an informative website located here. which includes links to “What you need to do” [and “How to file your report” if you have over 20 employees]. A useful Wizard also will tell you how to become accessible (Simply answer a couple of questions, and the Wizard will provide you with directions that are specific to your business). Enjoy our accessible Lakeshore!