A A A
Hamilton Economic Development

Municipal Programs

Success begets success, and Hamilton’s environment, people and work ethic attracts a significant pool of new businesses, all aligned with Hamilton’s economic development programs and keep our city on a positive economic trajectory. Below is a comprehensive list of the incentives and programs offered by the City of Hamilton. The City of Hamilton offers a number of programs for property owners and developers to help offset costs of improvements and conversions of brownfields, heritage properties, core area properties and buildings and LEED’s certified buildings.

Brownfields/ERASE Program

The City of Hamilton’s Environmental Remediation and Site Enhancement (ERASE) Community Improvement Plan is a comprehensive set of programs designed to encourage and promote brownfield redevelopment. As its name suggests, the Plan is designed to “erase” brownfields by providing financial incentives to clean them up and replace them with productive economic land uses, thereby improving both economic opportunities and environmental conditions in the City.

Properties within the ERASE Community Improvement Project Area are eligible for the programs, subject to meeting the program requirements contained in the ERASE Plan and all other requirements of the City.

These programs include:

  • Study Grant
  • Redevelopment Grant
  • Education Tax Assistance
  • The Hamilton Downtown/West Harbourfront Remediation Loan Program (RLP)
  • Municipal Acquisition and Partnership
  • Development Charge Reduction
  • Brownfield Examples

The City’s Economic Development and Real Estate Division manages the ERASE programs. This single point-of-contact provides ERASE applications guidance, brownfield information and access to regulatory and planning contacts. Also serves as an advocate and liaison between City departments, other government agencies and participating brownfield partners.

Learn more about the program, contact:

Brownfield Office
Economic Development Division
Phone: (905)546-2424 ext. 4178
Email: brownfieldoffice@hamilton.ca

ERASE Study Grant Program (SGP)

Matching grants are available from the City to pay for up to one-half the cost of a Phase II and/or a Phase III Environmental Site Assessment (Remedial Action Plan). The maximum City contribution per study is $20,000 (excluding HST) to a maximum of two (2) studies and $25,000 (excluding HST) per property. If you are a property owner or purchaser of potentially contaminated land within the project area, you may be eligible.

ERASE Redevelopment Grant Program (RGP)

Grants are available to provide financial relief to property owners who undertake and complete brownfield redevelopment projects within the project area. These grants cover the following eligible program costs: environmental remediation and environmental studies demolition site preparation including construction/improvement of on-site public works. Redevelopment grants are only payable on brownfield properties where the redevelopment results in an increase in assessed value and property taxes. The grant is calculated as 80% of the increase in the municipal portion of property taxes and is paid on annual basis for up to 10 years, commencing once the redevelopment is complete. An application must be made to the City in order to be eligible for a Redevelopment Grant. Only costs incurred after an application is approved by the City can be included in the grant payment.

ERASE Education Tax Assistance Program (TAP)

Similar to RGP, the TAP will provide a financial incentive in the form of a freeze or cancellation of part of the educational tax portion on a brownfield property. Under the TAP, the Province of Ontario may match the municipal tax treatment for the education portion of the property tax that results from remediation and rehabilitation of the property and is paid on annual basis for up to 3 years, commencing once the redevelopment is complete. The Economic Development Division will administer this program.

Downtown/West Harbourfront Remediation Loan Program (RLP)

The Hamilton Downtown/West Harbourfront Remediation Loan Program (RLP) has been developed to stimulate residential or residential / commercial development/redevelopment on properties requiring remediation (i.e. brownfield properties) that are located within Downtown Hamilton or the West Harbourfront. The Program will provide financial assistance through a low interest loan equal to 80% of the cost of remediating a property within the defined areas to a maximum of $400,000 per property/project. The loan is to be a ‘bridge’ until such time as the property owner receives their ERASE Redevelopment Grant  or the Hamilton Tax Increment Grant.

ERASE Municipal Acquisition and Partnership Program (MAPP)

MAPP is a program of City property acquisition, investment and involvement in pilot projects with the private sector to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. Pilot projects can showcase the use of innovative tools such as new environmental remediation technologies. The City of Hamilton intends to be a leader in all areas of brownfield redevelopment, to provide stewardship in the administration of these programs and to be proactive in addressing opportunities associated with City owned properties.

ERASE Development Charge Reduction Program (DCR)

Once an application has been approved under the ERASE RGP, they have the option of applying the costs of environmental remediation on that property against development charges payable for that property (after any demolition charge credits are applied). If the applicant chooses to exercise this option, the costs of environmental remediation applied against development charges payable will be deducted from eligible costs under the ERASE RGP.

Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, and the Commercial Corridors Programs

The City of Hamilton offers financial incentive programs in the form of loans and grants to assist with various costs associated with development in Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, and the commercial corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law. There are also financial incentives for properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Plan provides the basis through which these programs are provided. In addition, municipal Development Charges (DC) are reduced by 80% within a defined area of Downtown Hamilton (as of July 6, 2017 the exemption will be at 75%).  A developer will receive an additional dollar for dollar exemption for 10% of the remaining 20% municipal development charges to be paid if they contribute dollar for dollar 10% of the development charges to be paid to the Downtown Public Art Reserve. 100% of Education Development Charges are required to be paid. The current Development Charges By-law expires on July 5, 2019.

More detailed descriptions and applications forms specific to each program can be accessed below:

Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program

The Business Improvement Area Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program (BIA CPIG) provides financial assistance to commercial property owners and owner-authorized tenants within active  Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) across the City.

The BIA CPIG program will fund eligible façade improvements, limited improvements to interior space as well as barrier-free improvements to commercial properties. For properties that have a street-frontage greater than 25’, the grant is based on $400 per linear foot of frontage to a maximum of $20,000. The maximum matching grant for properties with a street frontage of 25’ or less is $10,000. As a further incentive for corner properties, the City may increase the maximum grant amount to $25,000 to recognize the importance of flankage facades. Artfully designed façade improvements or art pieces placed on private property that can be viewed by the public, may be eligible for an additional $10,000 matching grant.

Program Description and Application Form:

Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program

The Commercial Property Improvement Grant Program (CPIGP) is intended to provide financial assistance for commercial property owners/authorized tenants within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway and the commercial corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.  The Program aims to improve upon the physical appearance of properties within the areas, achieve quality façade improvements, support commercial property / business owners with limited rehabilitation of interior space and assist in creating a barrier-free and accessible environment.

Maximum grant amount will be paid on a matching basis (50%-50%) to a maximum of $10,000 per property for eligible work under the Program. Corner properties will receive an additional matching grant of $2,500.

Program Description and Application Form:

Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program

The intent of the Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program is to provide an economic catalyst for developing, redeveloping or renovating residential / commercial lands and buildings located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope / Airport Gateway, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), and those properties within the City boundary designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

This Program authorizes for each approved grant application, a five year grant, the amount of which is subject to Council approval, in an amount not exceeding the increase in municipal realty taxes.  The increase in municipal realty taxes (City portion only) will be based on either the year in which the building permit that initiated the development / redevelopment was issued or, for properties where the proposed development / redevelopment does not require a building permit, the year in which City Council approved the grant amount, and, the first full year in which the property is reassessed.  The grant shall be an amount which does not exceed 100% of the municipal realty tax increase during year one, 80% in year two, 60% in year three, 40% in year four, and 20% in year five. For purposes of determining the eligible amount of the increase in municipal realty taxes, special charges, including BIA levies, shall be excluded from the calculation.  The grant would reduce the effect of an increase in municipal realty taxes attributable to the differential between the pre-renovation assessment and the post-renovation assessment.

Properties must meet qualifying criteria to be eligible, as outlined in the Hamilton Tax Increment Grant Program description.

Program Description and Application Form :

Hamilton Downtown, Barton and Kenilworth Multi-Residential Property Investment Program

The Hamilton Downtown, Barton and Kenilworth Multi Residential Property Investment Program was developed as a catalyst for stimulating residential development within Downtown Hamilton, the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the commercial corridors along Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area.  The Program is intended to provide financial assistance for projects that result in predominantly residential development including converting existing commercial space into multiple dwelling units; renovations to existing multiple dwelling units; the creation of a new multiple dwelling on vacant land; together with uses accessory to the residential development.

Program Description and Application Form:

Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program

The Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program is designed to stimulate residential development within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope / Airport Gateway, active and dormant Business Improvement Areas and “commercial corridors”, as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law, and those properties within the City boundaries designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

The Program is intended to provide financial assistance for converting existing built commercial space into residential units, renovations to existing residential units or construction of new units via building additions. The Program is also intended to provide assistance for the costs of creating new residential units on vacant land.

Program Description, Pre-Application Form and Application Form:

The Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant Program applies to the following Community Improvement Project Areas:

Office Tenancy Assistance Program

The Office Tenancy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to either building owners or tenants for eligible leasehold improvements to office buildings located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and the commercial corridors along Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.  The intent of the Program is to facilitate the increased attractiveness and marketability of the office stock and reduce the office vacancy rate by attracting new office tenants and owner-occupied office uses from outside the City, and to assist existing businesses to expand. The intent of the loan depends on the square foot area and term of lease or owner-occupied status of the office space, to a maximum of $450,000 per application.

Program Description and Application Form:

Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program

The Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program is intended to provide financial assistance in the form of a grant for structural / stability work required to conserve and restore heritage features of properties; the conservation and restoration of heritage features of properties; and for heritage studies / reports / assessments for properties that are designated under Parts IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act. Eligible properties must be located within: Downtown Hamilton; a Community Downtown; the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, an active* Business Improvement Area within the City of Hamilton; Commercial Corridors as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area; or, be designated under Parts IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act and located within the lower city between Highway 403 and the Red Hill Valley Parkway and used for commercial, institutional, industrial or multi-residential purposes.

The objective of the Program is to assist in development and re-using heritage properties. City Council values heritage properties as important to the urban revitalization and regeneration. Conservation and restorative initiatives must be consistent with the policies, principles and design themes contained within the Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan, and relevant Urban Design Guidelines, regulations contained within the applicable Zoning By-laws as well as any other City Council approved policies/regulations.

Program Description and Application Form:

The Hamilton Community Heritage Fund Loan Program

Hamilton Community Heritage Fund Loan Program offered to owners of properties within the City of Hamilton that are designated under Parts IV or V of the Ontario Heritage Act, this program offers a 0% interest loan to a maximum of $50,000 for the restoration and conservation of designated heritage features. The loan is repayable monthly up to a maximum of 10 years or, repayable commencing 1 year after final completion of the works, in annual amounts of 10% of the loan for 4 years at the end of which the balance will be paid by a balloon payment.

Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program

The Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program is intended to provide financial assistance in the form of matching grants between $1,000 to $5,000 for the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage resources. The objective of the Hamilton Heritage Conservation Grant Program is to assist in the on-going conservation of heritage properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act that are not eligible for the Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program.

Program Description and Application Form:

Barton / Kenilworth Tax Increment Grant Program

The intent of the Barton / Kenilworth Tax Increment Grant Program is to provide an economic catalyst for developing, redeveloping or renovating residential / commercial lands and buildings located within the boundaries of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Barton and Kenilworth commercial corridors and the properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.

This Program authorizes for each approved grant application, a nine year grant, the amount of which is subject to Council approval, in an amount not exceeding the increase in municipal realty taxes. The increase in municipal realty taxes (City portion only) will be based on either the year in which the building permit that initiated the development / redevelopment was issued or, for properties where the proposed development / redevelopment does not require a building permit, the year in which City Council approved the grant amount, and, the first full year in which the property is reassessed. The grant shall be an amount which does not exceed 100% of the municipal realty tax increase during the first, second, third, fourth and fifth year, 80% in year six, 60% in year seven, 40% in year eight, and 20% in year nine. For purposes of determining the eligible amount of the increase in municipal realty taxes, special charges including B.I.A. levies shall be excluded from the calculation. The grant would reduce the effect of an increase in municipal realty taxes attributable to the differential between the pre-renovation assessment and the post-renovation assessment.

Program Description and Application Form:

Barton / Kenilworth Commercial Corridor Building Improvement Grant Program

The Barton / Kenilworth Commercial Corridor Building Improvement Grant Program  was created to support the development of property and the maintenance, functionality, viability, accessibility and aesthetics of existing building stock used for commercial, multi-residential or institutional uses within the boundaries of the Barton Village Business Improvement Area (BIA), the Barton and Kenilworth commercial corridors and the properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.

The Program supports the “Barton and Kenilworth Commercial Corridors Final Recommendations Report” received by City Council at its meeting held September 10, 2014.

Program Description, Guidelines and Application Form:

Barton/Kenilworth Planning and Building Fee Rebate Program

The following application fees may be rebated if applications are for properties that are located within the Barton Village Business Improvement Area, the Barton/Kenilworth Commercial Corridors and properties that front on Barton Street between James Street North and Victoria Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law:

Planning Fees:

  1. Committee of Adjustment Minor Variance Approval (Complex or Routine): the applicant can apply for a rebate if the proposed variance(s) supports the revitalization of the corridors and can be supported by Planning staff and the decision to approve is made by the Committee of Adjustment, and there are no appeals made to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).  If this is not the case, and there is an appeal to the OMB which over turns the Committee of Adjustment decision, there will be no rebate issued.  However, if the OMB upholds the Committee’s decision, the rebate will be issued.
  2. Site Plan Control Application (major or minor) only after issuance of Building Permit: applicant can apply for a rebate upon Site Plan Final Approval.

Building Fees:

  1. Minimum Permit Fee
  2. Assembly Occupancies
  3. Residential Occupancies (excluding hotels, motels)
  4. Business and Person Services
  5. Mercantile (Retail – Finished only)
  6. Industrial (excluding parking garages and gas stations)
  7. Mechanical Systems (commercial cooking exhaust system)
  8. Signs

Applicant can apply for a rebate upon Final Inspection and Building Permit completion.

Rebates are subject to the availability of funding and at the discretion of the General Manager, Planning and Economic Development.

Please contact the Urban Renewal Section at 905-546-2424 Ext. 2755 for more information on the Rebate Fee.

Contact

Hazel Milsome
Co-ordinator, Urban Renewal Incentives
71 Main Street West, 7th Floor
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Phone: (905) 546-2424 ext. 2755
Fax: (905) 546-2693
Email: hazel.milsome@hamilton.ca

SUBSCRIBE TO HAMILTON

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEWSLETTER

WELCOME TO HAMILTON

Ranked Canada's most diversified economy, home to Canada's busiest multi-modal cargo airport, the busiest port on the Canadian Great Lakes, and centrally located within a one hour drive to Toronto, Waterloo and the Niagara/US Border, Hamilton is at the center of it all. With two internationally renowned post-secondary institutions in the city (surrounded by 23 other), a diverse and learned workforce and both ample greenfield and urban sites upon which to build, we're ready for your investment.

Welcome to unstoppable.