Council & Committee Meetings

Open for Business Sub-Committee

About the committee

To review the City of Hamilton’s overall “Open for Business” effectiveness, with the goal of streamlining the processes within the Planning and Economic Development Department and other City Departments to create consistent, predictable, and customer-focused services that encourage investment of small and medium sized enterprises and entrepreneurs in the City of Hamilton.

Committee type: Sub-Committee
Reports to: General Issues Committee
Meeting schedule: Meetings shall be held as required. 

2015/2016 Open For Business Accomplishments (as of September 6, 2016)

Process improvements - Eliminating the unnecessary steps and streaming processes.


Parking Requirements

Zoning amendment to eliminate additional parking requirements in BIAs and older commercial areas when there is a change in use within existing building.


Festival Tents

Eliminate requirement for Building Permit approvals for festival tents in previously approved location.


Farmer’s Markets

New Zoning requirements to permit Farmer’s Markets in many commercial areas.


Model Homes

Eliminate additional planning approvals for model homes in Plans of Subdivision.


Road Widenings

New Official Plan Policy to state clearer Planning staff discretion in the requirements for road widenings, where it’s not feasible or desirable.


Rural Zoning

Greater flexibility in permitted uses in the rural area, by way of a new Hamilton Rural Zoning By-law.


Concurrent Application Review

Rather than requiring sequential approvals for a single development, allow concurrent reviewing for Site Plans and Building Permits.


Concurrent Application Review

Rather than requiring sequential approvals for a single development, allow concurrent reviewing for Site Plans and Minor Variances.


Concurrent Application Review

Rather than requiring sequential approvals for a single development, allow concurrent reviewing for Engineering reviews and water assessments for Plans of Subdivision.


Continuous Improvement, Team Case Study Reviews

Establish an ongoing team to review past development approvals files to identify and implement process improvements.


Temporary Business Licences

A pilot program to permit businesses to establish for a temporary period without the need for full license application.



Engineering Guidelines

A new Comprehensive Development Guidelines and Financial Policies Manual.


Site Plan Approval Timelines

Tighter deadlines for staff comments on Site Plan Applications prior to Development Review Team review, creating greater opportunities for conditional approvals.


Subdivision Comments

Standard engineering comments on submissions that clarify new comments, previous comments not addressed and comments as a result of revision, therefore, making it easier for staff and applicants to track changes to resubmissions.


Zoning Verification

Improved simple language for Zoning Verifications and the inclusion of relevant requirements/considerations from other agencies.


Pre-screening of Form 1s / Water Assessments

A temporary staff position has been created to review new applications for completeness and prioritize, prior to sending to the Public Works Department for review.



Electronic Application Tracking

The expansion of the Amanda tracking system to Growth Management and Planning to electronically track applications, with upgrades, currently in the works, this will permit digital development application and develop KPIs.


Digital Work Stations

Pilot of new digital work stations to enable staff to review and make notes on large scale plans.



 Business Facilitation Team

The addition of two additional members to the Business Facilitation Team, for a total of four staff; one new member to focus on rural development and one member to focus on small business.


Future Ready Leadership

PED staff training for future leaders with the aim of developing staff leadership, customer service and continuous improvement skills.


Ongoing Consultation and Communication
  • BIA meetings
  • One-on-one with key developers: GM / Director of Open for Business
  • Questionnaires and focus groups
  • Front-line staff group meetings with business owners.

Public Works (PW) Call Line

The establishment of a Public Works call line for development applicants to clarify staff comments on Development Applications.


Open for Business Sub-Committee

Renewed Open for Business Sub-Committee with representation from – Hamilton-Halton Home Builders, Hamilton, Stoney Creek and Flamborough Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Area Advisory Committee, Realtors Association of Hamilton/Burlington and Hamilton-Burlington Society of Architects.


Open For Business Report Card

An annual report on available metrics for Open for Business for 2013 and 2014.  The 2015 report is currently being developed.


Initiatives currently underway

  • Additional information materials
  • Preparation of zoning process flow chart and interpretation brochures
  • Review of Source Water Protection Policies and their impacts
  • Zoning By-law Review
  • Business Licensing By-law Review
  • Expanded use of AMANDA and Digital Development Applications
  • Lean development processes improvements
  • Staff Leadership Development programs, (eg. Future Ready 2)
  • Rural Official Plan Review of servicing policies for redevelopment
  • Improved process for sign alterations

Loren Kolar, Legislative Coordinator
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2604
Email: loren.kolar@hamilton.ca

  • Councillor Maria Pearson
  • Councillor Terry Whitehead
  • Councillor Judi Partridge
  • Councillor Jason Farr
  • Councillor John-Paul Danko
  • Councillor Arlene VanderBeek
  • Councillor Lloyd Ferguson
  • Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Official Advisors

  • Tony Greco, BIAAC Representative
  • Ed Fothergill, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
  • Matteo Patricelli, Flamborough Chamber of Commerce
  • Kathy Wakeman, Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce
  • Kyle Slote, Hamilton Burlington Society of Architects
  • Wendy Stewart, Realtor’s Association of Hamilton Burlington