Surrey Board of Trade calls for Expansion of Inter-Municipal Business License Program

The Surrey Board of Trade calls for the current Inter-Municipal Business Licence (IMBL) program boundaries to be extended to encompass the entire Lower Mainland. The request was made to Surrey City Council last night on March 7, 2016 as members surveyed indicated a strong support to merge the existing programs into one.

The Inter-Municipal Business Licence (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 license agreements in BC 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 as they only have one or two licences to worry about. This saves them time and money,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The Surrey Board of Trade recently participated in a survey distributed through 12 chambers and boards of trade, in partnership with BC Chamber, and representing a membership of over 13,000. Of those responding, more than 80% strongly indicated support for expansion into one convenient program extending from the North Shore through to Hope.

Construction and trades related businesses are able to purchase a license in one of the four programs; however, there are those who have clients in a second or third area necessitating additional coverage.

Further, the survey results indicated that over 40% of respondents throughout the region either were not aware of the IMBL program or had little knowledge of whether a license in another municipality is required if they are just “visiting” a client.

As a result of member feed-back through the survey’s questions and comments, Surrey Board of Trade asked Surrey City Council to work together 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 by-laws are developed and improved upon,” said Anita Huberman. “Together we can ensure that the needs of Surrey and businesses are met while minimizing red tape and keeping the fees reasonable.”