Details of a much-anticipated two-year pilot program to test the viability of streamlining business licensing across multiple municipalities was shared by the Vancouver Economic Commission and the City’s permitting department at Vancouver City Council today.
The pilot for the Metro West Multi-City Business Licensing program or MCBL, proposed to begin in October of this year and run through the end of 2015, would include the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Delta and Richmond and would encourage participation by construction trades contractors such as plumbers and electricians who are often required to pull permits for projects in multiple jurisdictions. The intent of the pilot is to track the effectiveness and efficiency of issuing a single licence to businesses that would allow for the mobility and flexibility to operate in each community.
“New investment, talent and jobs are attracted to cities that reduce red tape for local business,” said Joan Elangovan, Acting CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission. “Our primary goal is to remove as many barriers as we can, and streamlining licensing will ensure business owners save time and money by eliminating extra steps. It will also stimulate companies to consider municipalities they might not have done business in prior to the program, increasing choice for consumers as well.”
Jeremy Dobson, who is considering moving his Blue Chip Painting business to Vancouver, agrees, and he is prepared to capitalize on the new process. “A mobile business licence would help enable us to ensure we are licensed to operate across the Lower Mainland in one step. The current process is time consuming and labour intensive, something small businesses like myself don’t have time for.”
The approach to multi-city licensing has a proven track record around BC in the Capital Region, on the North Shore and in the Okanagan- Similkameen. After implementation, the Okanagan experienced an increase in revenues of $250,000, 30% greater compliance in licensing and a greater ability to track local business development and operations.
The pilot program is being jointly developed by the Vancouver Economic Commission, the Vancouver Board of Trade, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the participating municipalities to ensure the needs of businesses in all areas are considered.
More information about the pilot program will be posted on the City of Vancouver’s website prior to its implementation.
About VEC: The Vancouver Economic Commission, an agency of the City of Vancouver, works to strengthen the city’s economic future by helping existing businesses, attracting investment, researching the business environment and making policy recommendations.
LBMG on behalf of the Vancouver Economic Commission