Municipal business promotion

The Community Charter generally prohibits local governments from assisting businesses; however, local governments are able to implement programs, policies and services that support economic development in their communities. Municipalities may also enable business promotion through business improvement areas and specified tax exemptions.

Business improvement areas

By bylaw, municipal councils can establish a local service area in which business and light industry property owners can join together to finance marketing, promotional and revitalization programs through a municipal grant and local service property tax scheme.

Revitalization tax exemptions

Local governments have specific property tax exemption authorities including tax exemptions under partnering agreements and heritage conservation tax exemptions, that may assist in economic development. Additionally, municipalities can exempt properties, including business properties, from the municipal portion of their property value taxes to encourage economic, social or environmental revitalization in all or part of the municipality. Regional districts do not have the same authority to provide for these kinds of tax exemptions.

Heritage conservation exception

Municipalities can assist businesses in relation to heritage conservation for specific types of properties (if approved by a two-thirds vote of council) and by a simple majority vote for purposes such as:

  • Acquiring, conserving or developing a heritage property and other heritage resources
  • Gaining knowledge or increasing public awareness about the community's history and heritage
  • Other activities that council deems necessary or desirable with respect to the conservation of heritage property or other heritage resources