BIA Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program

The Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program provides financial assistance to commercial property owners and owner-authorized tenants within active Business Improvement Areas as identified within the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.

About the program

The Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program  aims to:

  • improve upon the appearance of commercial properties
  • support commercial property and business owners with limited rehabilitation of interior space
  • assist in creating a barrier free and accessible environment

To be eligible for this program, these requirements must be met:

  • You are the property owner or authorized tenant.
  • Property taxes have been kept up to date.
  • Proposed work will be pre-inspected by a City Building Inspector.
  • The improvements shall be in accordance with Property Standards and the Ontario Building Code and in compliance with all applicable City by-laws, official plans, zoning regulations, design guidelines and site plan approvals
  • Your commercial property is located within one of the City’s active Business Improvement Areas and is within the corresponding Community Improvement Project Areas (PDF, 7 MB).
  • The existing use of the property is in conformity with the applicable Zoning By-law regulations, and other relevant planning controls.

Exterior improvements

  • improvements / replacement to doors, cornices, parapets, soffit, fascia
  • addition of new lighting and upgrading of existing fixtures, on exterior of the façade and within the storefront area normally associated with the display area
  • awning replacements and / or additions
  • brick repairs and / or pointing
  • painting and façade treatments
  • installation or improvement of signage (Signage must comply with Sign By-law 10-197)
  • barrier free entrance to property (ramps, doors and automatic door openers)
  • permanent landscape features only such as flagstone and natural stones /rocks, statuary, irrigation, containers
  • permanent fencing
  • front-yard decks / patios or side yard decks / patios that abut a street
  • surveillance cameras affixed to the exterior of the property (must comply to the Fortification By-law 10-122)

Interior improvements

  • barrier-free washrooms
  • ramps to access barrier-free washrooms
  • interior signage to meet Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements
  • commercial kitchen cooking exhaust / ventilation systems
  • sprinkler systems
  • widening of doors to meet AODA requirements

The maximum grant for interior improvements is 50% of the maximum grant per property.


  • Architectural, engineering, lawyer’s, BCIN designer, building permit, site plan application, road occupancy permit, street occupancy permit and encroachment agreement application fees may be eligible for  up to 100% of the cost to a maximum of $3000 per application as part of the total grant awarded for completed construction.

Other improvements deemed health, safety and accessible issues eligible at the sole discretion of the General Manager of Planning and Economic Development. 

In-eligible improvements

  • trees, shrubbery, perennials, annuals, soil, mulch, grass
  • roofing (apart from mansard roofs above the eligible frontage)
  • sandblasting
  • paving of parking lots
  • interior furniture, display cases, equipment
  • outdoor patio furniture
  • tools

This list is not intended to be exclusive

How to apply

  1. Review the full program description, including program terms. (PDF, 179 KB)
  2. Complete the BIA Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program application form (PDF, 445 KB) and submit in person or by mail to:

    City of Hamilton
    71 Main Street West, 7th Floor
    Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 4Y5
    Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2755
    Fax: 905-546-2693
  3. You will need to pay the administration fee when you submit your application:
  • The fee is $96.05 for grants that are $5000 or less
  • The fee is $265.55 for grants less than or equal to $12,500 and greater than $5,000
  •  The fee is $412.45 for grants greater than $12,500

Application period: Applications accepted year round. Applicants may only apply one each calendar year. Subject to the availability of funding.