What is a BIA and how does it work?

A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a geographical area that is established through municipal By-law and is governed under The Municipal Act of Ontario. With support from the municipality, a BIA coordinates the organization, physical improvement and economic development of the business area. BIAs are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, composed of businesses, property owners, persons voted in by rate-paying members and at least one member of municipal Council. The Board is elected every four years in conjunction with Municipal elections. The Board represents the BIA membership and advocates on their behalf. The BIA holds an Annual General Meeting, at which point annual budgets are approved by the membership and other items of interest are presented.

The Uptown Waterloo BIA, formed in 1972, is a Board of Management of City of Waterloo Council and the boundary is delineated by the City of Waterloo. We are an independent non-profit organization, financed by a levy on each property owner in the Uptown Waterloo BIA boundary. Further, although we work independently from the Corporation of the City of Waterloo, the BIA has a very close relationship with the City and we partner on many projects.

The Uptown Waterloo BIA exists to promote, beautify and enhance the urban experience of Uptown Waterloo; the role of the Uptown Waterloo BIA in redevelopment is to aid and assist the interests of Uptown business with relevance to consumer markets, neighbourhood residents, overall aesthetic, and the continued positive evolution of the Uptown core. The Uptown Waterloo BIA is a partner in helping to steer and direct the process of redevelopment. Read more about Uptown Waterloo’s Vision here.

Uptown BIA Staff

Uptown Waterloo BIA staff consists of an Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors, and three Managers in the areas of Placemaking & Operations, Events & Outreach Manager and Marketing & Communications reporting to the Executive Director. Learn more about the BIA staff on the Who We Are page.

Annual Report 2022
What We Do For Members

The prime mandate of the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) is to promote and beautify the core area of Waterloo. For more information about how this mandate is put into action by our committees, visit the Board & Committees page.

Here are some examples of the other things the BIA does for its members:

  • Leads promotional and marketing initiatives to encourage visitors to the core, to stimulate economic growth and contribute to a vibrant and healthy community
  • Coordinates and completes beautification projects to contribute to a well-maintained and physically attractive area (read more about Beautification on the Board & Committees page)
  • Provides an open forum for concerns and issues facing the membership, which we do our absolute best to address efficiently and effectively
  • Acts as a conduit for communication with the Municipality regarding parking, urban design, City policies, construction, economic development, and other municipally-governed areas of concern
  • Host a variety of special events and festivals to bring guests into Uptown Waterloo and encourage exploring businesses while visiting
  • Provides subsidized advertising rates with local media for Uptown Waterloo businesses

Are You a Member?

Members of a BIA consist of persons who are assessed, on the last returned assessment roll, with respect to rateable property in the area that is in a prescribed business property class and tenants of each property. If you’re unsure if your business is within the BIA boundary, refer to the BIA Boundary Map.

Uptown BIA Boundary Map