Excellence in Planning Awards

Planning Awards Criteria

Recognizing Excellence

OPPI’s annual Excellence in Planning Awards Program recognizes:
  • Excellence in all aspects of the profession;
  • A strong awareness of the planning profession among related professions, all levels of government, potential private and public sector clients, and the general public;
  • Exemplary work by professional planners within communities.
These awards are an opportunity for OPPI to acknowledge the best professional accomplishments of members.
The program has become increasingly popular over the past few years and interest continues to grow among members, the public, and the media.
Winners receive a specially designed award and will be recognized at OPPI’s awards ceremony and reception. The winning entries will be featured on the OPPI website, in the Ontario Planning Journal, and in OPPI’s Monthly eNews.  OPPI will send out press releases to local and regional newspapers and media outlets.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Any member, corporation, or consortium may submit an application provided that at least one member of the team is a Full, Candidate, Pre-Candidate, Retired, or Student member of OPPI in good standing. This member must have played a substantial role in the project.
  1. All entrants must certify that the client is aware of and supports the submission and any subsequent promotion or publication of the details of the project.
  1. The project must be within the Province of Ontario. OPPI encourages the submission of large and small projects from communities of all sizes.
  1. Submissions from student members must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a supervising faculty member confirming the originality and supporting the excellence of the submission.
  1. An individual project may be submitted only once and in only one category. Entrants may, however, make a submission for another project in another category.
  1. To be eligible for an award, projects must be: built or implemented; adopted by By-law or resolution or some other formal mechanism by the appropriate authority (government or otherwise); accepted by a community group; or published by a recognized publisher or planning agency within the two years preceding the year the award is given.


Urban/Community Design:
The urban/community design category recognizes planners’ contributions to the built form of our communities and includes planned, newly constructed or renovated sites or areas. Submissions should focus on the contributions of the planner and the planning process. Although projects should be recent, significant contributions may not be apparent until projects have matured, and therefore, depending on the nature and scope of the project, entrants may submit less recently constructed projects.
Municipal Statutory Planning Studies, Reports and Documents:
This category includes Official Plans, Zoning By-laws, Secondary Plans, Plans of Subdivision, Community Improvement Plans and amendments to these municipal statutory planning documents as per the Planning Act.
Community Planning and Development Studies/Reports:
This category includes plans, reports, or policies, prepared in any field of community planning (except for those noted above as specifically belonging in the Municipal Statutory Planning Studies/Reports category.)
Examples of Community Planning Studies/Reports applications include, but are not limited to: land use, urban and rural community development, development control, resources, environment, conservation authority, recreation, tourism, heritage, transportation, waste management, health and social services, housing, and economic development.
Research/New Directions:
The Research category includes original studies, theses, or reports that give evidence of a thorough examination of a problem, using analytical methods that support original findings, or solutions of value to the profession. Submissions should include documentation of the research method and findings. University theses (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral) must be accompanied by a letter of endorsement from a professor who acted as advisor to the student who prepared the thesis. This letter must indicate that the thesis is “outstanding” in the professor’s opinion. This category also recognizes “new directions” of the profession. Submissions may include innovative project management or planning processes, or development and application of leading-edge concepts in project planning.
Communications/Public Education:
This category includes written or published documents and audio-visual presentation materials intended for use within or outside the profession. This may include online information, technical booklets, publications, pamphlets, newsletters, brochures, audio-visual presentations, workshops, and open houses. The audience for the project should be described and details provided as to how this advances education about planning.


Awards for Excellence in Planning are offered at the Provincial level only. OPPI offers a maximum of two awards per category.
Juries will be established for each of the five categories, and will include representatives of different OPPI districts. Juries include an individual from outside the profession who has a related role (community work, urban affairs writer, etc.).


The juries will evaluate the submissions using the following criteria:
  1. Innovation – Introduces a new concept or refines an existing technique or procedure.
  2. Professional Recognition – Accepted and recognized by peers as representing a high standard of professionalism.
  3. Implementation – Demonstrated effective implementation strategy, if applicable.
  4. Communications – Good organization and clarity of presentation; appropriate communication style for targeted audiences.

Submission Requirements and Fees

Award submissions are accepted online only.

The entry fee is $225.00 + HST $29.25 = total payment of $254.25.
The following will be required as part of your online submission:
  • 10,000 character (three-page) summary explaining how the submission qualifies for the category under which it was submitted; why it merits an award; where and when it was published or constructed and for whom.  
  • Confirmation that the submission meets Eligibility Criterion #6.
  • Photo(s) of the project in electronic format.  A  maximum of three photos will be accepted in either JPEG or PNG format.  
  • One paragraph text to be used for write-ups and media releases.
  • Electronic version of the logos of all organizations involved in the project, preferably in transparent PNG or GIF format.

Only complete submissions will be considered for an award.

Submit your project for consideration
Please note:  The fee may be paid by credit card or by mailing a cheque to OPPI at the following address:  Ontario Professional Planners Institute, Excellence in Planning Awards Program, 234 Eglinton Avenue East, Ste. 201, Toronto, ON    M4P 1K5. 

If mailing a cheque, please identify the project name and category on the cheque stub.
Deadline: Submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. on April 18th.
Questions regarding submissions should be directed to:
Meagan Rockett, OPPI’s Awards Administrator, at 1-844-388-4517.