The Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce has requested the current Inter-Municipal Business Licence (IMBL) program boundaries be extended to encompass the entire Lower Mainland.
The request was made to Mission council earlier this month as chamber members surveyed indicated a strong support to merge the existing programs into one.
IMBL reduces red tape by allowing construction and trades-related businesses to operate in more than one municipality, rather than by obtaining non-resident licences in each municipality in which they operate.
Currently, there are 11 mobile business licence agreements in B.C. with 73 participating municipalities.
In the Lower Mainland, there are four programs: Fraser Valley, Metro West, North/West Vancouver, and Tri-cities.
Several municipalities participate in more than one if they are conveniently located.
“I have heard from my members who have an IMBL that it greatly helps them maintain proper compliance as they only have one or two licences to worry about. This saves them time and money,” said Dave Sawatzky, government affairs committee chair with the chamber.
The Mission chamber participated in a survey distributed through 12 chambers and boards of trade representing a membership of over 13,000. Of those responding, more than 80 per cent strongly indicated support for expansion into one convenient program extending from the North Shore through to Hope.
Further, the survey results indicated that more than 40 per cent of respondents throughout the region either were not aware of the IMBL program or had little knowledge of whether a licence in another municipality is required if they are just “visiting” a client.
The chamber has asked the district to:
1. Develop and implement a Regional Inter-Municipal Business Licence program for the Lower Mainland
2. Develop education and awareness strategies to ensure members are able to take advantage of the opportunities the program provides, and to ensure members are compliant with the various municipalities licensing requirements.
“I believe it is of great importance to have business at the table when business bylaws are developed and improved upon,” said Sawatzky.