National Professional Standards


Professional planners follow national professional standards administered by the Professional Standards Board for the Planning Profession in Canada (PSB). The PSB was developed to administer the certification standards consistently across the country, including assessment of applications and eligibility for Canadian membership, verification of mentorship and sponsorship of work experience, and delivery of courses and examinations for credentials.

Why are there professional standards?

As the planning profession, and the world around it, becomes more complex, a rigorous, uniform and transparent process for becoming a practicing planner is vital. In addition, those trained in Ontario may end up working elsewhere, or planners from across Canada and beyond may come to work in your local community. National professional standards are needed to allow planners to work in Canada and export this knowledge abroad.
 
In 2012, the Professional Standards Committee for the Planning Profession in Canada (PSC) was created by agreement between the Provincial and Territorial Institutes and Associations (PTIAs). The PSC is the body responsible for ensuring the professional standards across Canada remains relevant and prepares planners to meet increasingly complex demands.

What does it mean for Members?

As OPPI members and Registered Professional Planners, the development of national standards is important, and has a significant impact on the work planners do. The national professional standards for planners in Canada focuses on three areas: competency (educational), ethical, and membership. Learn more below about the impact of each on the profession and your career.

Competency (Educational) Standards
It is important to train students in a consistent way. Competency standards are the knowledge, skills and attitudes individual planners are required to have in order to practice in the planning profession. These standards impact how planning students are educated and certified, including addressing the expectations of stakeholders and the general public of professional planners. 

In addition, Ontario is home to six accredited planning programs, each with their own specialties and some offering a mix of undergraduate and graduate programs. Students entering planning programs need to be assured their credentials will be respected in Ontario and across Canada, and their studies will prepare them adequately for the work they choose to do. 

Membership Standards
Practicing planners who are full members of OPPI as RPPs, or are seeking the RPP designation, are required to participate in OPPI’s Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) program as part of their professional certification. CPL is intended to help members keep current with changes and developments in the planning profession, and to stay informed about innovations and leading practices. 

Ethical Standards
As practicing RPPs, Candidate Members, or non-RPP members in Ontario, OPPI members are required to follow a Professional Code of Practice, and OPPI provides member oversight through a Discipline process led by the Discipline Committee. This committee operates at arms-length from Council and investigates complaints against OPPI members, determines if action is required and assesses discipline options.

Members must practice in an ethical and responsible manner and uphold their responsibilities to the public interest, clients and employers and the profession and other members. 

Members acting ethically are also expected to live up to a specific set of values:
  • To respect and integrate the needs of future generations
  • To overcome or compensate for jurisdictional limitations
  • To value the natural and cultural environment
  • To recognize and react positively to uncertainty
  • To respect diversity
  • To balance the needs of communities and individuals
  • To foster public participation
  • To articulate and communicate values

How does OPPI contribute to the Professional Standards Committee? 

There is a Standing Committee called the Professional Standards & Registration Committee. This group is comprised of RPPs and is responsible for professional standards development, oversight and impact assessment, Continuous Professional Learning standards, and adjudicating on membership application issues at the request of the Registrar. This group also delegates a representative to the national Professional Standards Committee providing Ontario-specific insight concerning existing practice standards. 

What is the five-year review?

In 2017, the PSC started a its first five-year review of the professional standards across Canada and reached out to each PTIA for feedback on its review. On behalf of OPPI, the Professional Standards & Registration Committee is handling this review for the organization and membership. Once this committee has reviewed the recommendations put forward, a report will be sent to OPPI Council with a recommendation for a formal response. 
 
Once the PSC has consulted all of the PTIAs, they will finalize their report and circulate their recommendations to the same stakeholders. OPPI members will be advised when, and if, new standards are developed from the five-year review.  

Who can I contact to learn more?

If you have any questions about this review, please feel free to reach out to OPPI’s Registrar, Brian Brophey, at standards@ontarioplanners.ca.