Chamber wants mobility

Township of Langley, Langley City council hear merits of Mobile Business Licence program

For people who run landscaping companies, mobile mechanics and janitorial services, construction and related businesses, having to secure a business licence in each municipality where they work is not only financially onerous, it’s time consuming.

After a presentation from Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce president Denni Bonetti on Feb. 6, Township council has agreed to examine the feasibility of supporting a Mobile Business Licence.

In a brief video shown to council and the gallery, a bureaucrat on Vancouver Island called the current system “a tangle of administration.”

A MBL would cut through the red tape, Bonetti told council.

The local chamber is part of the Fraser Valley Chambers of Commerce which represents approximately 3,400 members conducting business in the Township, Langley City, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The majority of these members are small business owners who have few employees.

“Many of them are mobile businesses that perform service in more than one municipality by moving from client to client,” Bonetti said, .

“Each year we survey our membership and ask them to identify challenges to business growth and success, (and) each year government red tape is identified as a priority concern, including municipal business licensing processes,” she said.

A MBL allows mobile businesses to operate across participating municipalities and regional districts, streamlines and simplifies the licensing process, reducing costs and making it easier to do business in the region and the province, she said.

Several regions in the province have implemented inter-municipal business licences, and the video showed just how successful they are. In every one of them, the local government experienced greater compliance and the businesses benefited by reduced time and expense, and simplified expansion into new markets.

The Langley chamber has pointed out that the objective of the provincial government’s Jobs Plan is to “consult with local governments to expand mobile business licences, allowing employers to operate across municipal and provincial borders.”

To avoid red tape, many business owners simply operate without a business licence. A MBL, Bonetti said, increases compliance.

It doesn’t exist now because no one has asked the Township to put it in place, she added.

There was also a presentation at Langley City Council on the same night.

Councillor Gayle Martin first heard of the idea six or seven years ago “and thought it was a wonderful idea back then.”

“I think it is the way to go but everybody has to be on board to do this,” she said.

“But this is a good start, it is a great way to go.”

Councillor Dave Hall’s initial reaction was of reluctance, feeling this might lead to less work for City residents.

“It feels this might be raiding business in Langley City,” he said.

But Quaale was quick to point out that this works both ways, and it would be a chance for businesses to gain work outside of the City as well.

— with files from Gary Ahuja

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