Mobile Business Licencing Benefits Cited

Presenters at Thursday morning's “Best Practices: Mobile Business Licencing” clinic emphasized the benefits of inter-municipal mobile business license (MBL) agreements. Speakers from the province and participating local governments strongly support the agreements, which allow businesses to operate in multiple jurisdictions without having to purchase a separate license for each community.

MBLs are an add-on to existing business licenses. They expand the area in which businesses may legally operate, reducing costs to businesses and local government administration.

MBL Agreements also support small business start-up and growth, facilitating work across municipal boundaries, the session heard. “Small businesses are the heart and soul of the communities we live in,” reminded Trish Sterloff, Small Business Branch executive director with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

Many business operators may not realize that a license is required to work in each local government jurisdiction. MBLs simplify procedures and increase compliance, he said.

Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky recounted the steady growth in participation in the Central Okanagan, where 19 local governments are part of the agreement.

For business owner Bob Dieno of Nu-Tech Fire and Safety and president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, MBLs mean less red tape, a larger geographical area in which to work, and greater peace of mind that his staff are in compliance when they are working in outlying communities.

Eight areas of the province already have MBL agreements, including nine Fraser Valley and three Vancouver's North Shore communities, Courtenay-Comox, the Tri-Cities, thirteen Capital Regional District jurisdictions, four Cowichan area communities and five west Kootenay communities around Trail. Six Lower Mainland municipalities will enter into a MBL agreement on October 1, 2013.

Provincial staff is ready to facilitate discussion and agreement between local governments to resolve eligibility, costs, revenue sharing issues and other terms of the agreement. A smart phone-accessible database allows municipal staff to verify business licenses.

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