About Rafael Gomez, Juan Gomez & Matias de Dovitiis

Matias de Dovitiis has helped found a number of important organizations and projects including the Downsview Advocate community newspaper, the Organization of Latin American Students, Mosaico 21, Toronto Area Council, Ethno-Racial Equity Committee, M.A.T.A., CONOSER and Teach2Learn. He currently works as an Executive Director for the DUKE Heights BIA, one of the largest BIA’s in North America.

Juan Gomez has over 20-years of experience in policy development, research and evaluation. This includes senior policy and leadership roles with Government of Ontario organizations such as the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, the Region of Greater Manchester (UK), Toronto Region Board of Trade and presently as Senior Partner/Director of Research and Policy with Think Tank Toronto.

Rafael Gomez has a BA and Masters in Economics and a PhD in Industrial Relations. Since receiving his PhD he has taught and/or conducted research at various international institutions such as the London School of Economics, the Central Bank of Spain, and Glendon College (York University). Since 2009 he has been Professor of Employment Relations at the University of Toronto and is currently the Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto.

Business Improvement Area 2.0: Place-Based Industrial Strategy

Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) empower local business people, commercial property owners, and professionals in a specific geographic area to collaborate with the support of a local municipality in organizing, financing, and carrying out physical improvements and marketing of their districts. The key to its resilience over the years was the innovation of ‘compulsory BIA membership and levy payments’ which overcame the perennial free-rider problem intrinsic to voluntary business associations of the past. It is generally acknowledged that the BIA model, through this ability to harness business funds and reinvest them directly back into the local business area, has been a success internationally, in terms of enhanced economic, social, and community development outcomes.