Iqaluit hopes to streamline business licence system
Staff asked to draft new bylaw within six months
Iqaluit’s Community Economic Development Committee has decided to revamp the city’s business licensing bylaw.
After hearing a report to the committee Feb. 11 saying that instructions to applicants are unclear and that the process is “onerous,” committee member and business owner Cedric Rusike agreed that getting a license “takes way too long.”
Committee members have passed a motion to redraft the bylaw.
To get a license approved, the application now physically passes from Iqaluit’s planning and lands department to the finance department and finally to the municipal enforcement department to ensure applicants don’t owe the city any money before a license can be issued.
Coun. Terry Dobbin said the current system “seems archaic.”
Rusike suggested the city replace the paper form that business owners now have to fill out with an online system linked to a database.
The bylaw was last updated in 2006, when the city made changes to the fee schedule.
How business owners would present their views on the changes to the bylaw took up much of the half-hour public discussion Feb. 11.
Committee chair Kuthula Matshazi relayed a message from Mayor Madeleine Redfern, who was not present, saying she had concerns about the bylaw not being business friendly and that she wanted extensive consultations with businesses.
Committee members considered a number of options to facilitate business input on the new bylaw, included inviting business people to a meeting of the economic development committee, holding round-table meetings, and conducting surveys.
The committee has asked staff to draft a new bylaw and expects it to be presented to committee members for approval within six months. After that, the bylaw will go to city council for approval.
Community economic development officer Joamie Eegeesiak says city staff won’t have an easy time with the drafting process because there will be “lots of work on this one, internally, externally, all the way around.”
Committee members discussed other items at last week’s meeting including setting up a “business incubator” program to train entrepreneurs.
They also talked about a letter they plan to send to hotel owners soliciting their input on the proposed destination marketing fee to be charged to hotels to help promote tourism in Nunavut’s capital.
Kevin Kelly of Nunavut Tourism has been invited to the next community economic development meeting, March 17, to discuss the destination marketing fee.