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November 14, 2013
City of Toronto receives Business Improvement Area (BIA) award
The City of Toronto was presented with the Michael Comstock Community Builder Award from the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) at today's meeting of Toronto City Council. This award acknowledges the City's current and past partnership with more than 35,000 businesses in 77 BIAs across the city.

“We are delighted to accept this award on behalf of City Council and Toronto’s hard-working Economic Development staff,” said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee. “The small and entrepreneurial businesses that form the heart of our BIAs are also Toronto’s primary engine of economic growth. The City of Toronto is pleased to be recognized for our commitment to small business, and proud to play an ongoing role in the sector’s success.”

Michael Comstock, who died in September 2012, was a long-time advocate for the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood and served as president of TABIA until April 2012. This award congratulates the City for its partnership with Toronto’s BIAs to foster safe, vibrant and prosperous business communities throughout the city.

In his remarks to Council during the award presentation, TABIA Executive Director John Kiru highlighted the following figures to show the scope and scale of the City's BIA success:

• BIA members employ more than 400,000 people in full-time and part-time positions.
• BIAs help produce and support more than 160 community events and street festivals throughout the year such as Taste of the Danforth and the Toronto Ukrainian Festival, which are annually attended by more than 7.4 million people.
• BIA members annually pay more than $1.3 billion in taxes. More than $700 million of those taxes go directly to the City while nearly $600 million are provincial education taxes. This amount represents 23 per cent of all property taxes collected by the City and 50 per cent of the total commercial and industrial property taxes collected by the City.
• For every public dollar the City invests towards BIAs, $10 in private sector funding for marketing, promotion, festivals and neighbourhood beautification projects is generated. In 2013, the City's $3-million investment has resulted in $30 million in BIA spending.
• The world's first BIA was started in Toronto in 1970. Since then, this innovative public-private business partnership model has been copied internationally. Toronto continues to have the largest number of BIAs of any urban centre in the world.

“BIAs are the ultimate private public partnership," said Kiru. "This low investment initiative yields a high return and great services for businesses and residents.”

BIAs are a defined geographic area where businesses, working closely with the local government, contribute funds for projects of shared benefit. This funding helps to promote that business area to residents and tourists by implementing street beautification projects, street festivals and many other initiatives of common benefit.

TABIA is a non-profit umbrella organization working with Business Improvement Areas within the City of Toronto. More information is available at

Earlier this year, Council endorsed the plan Collaborating for Competitiveness - A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto. More information about this plan and about how the City helps business in Toronto is available at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Shane Gerard, Senior Communications Coordinator
Strategic Communications



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