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Danielle Desjarlais and Kateri Lucier-Laboucan, Indigenous Design Studio at Brook McIlroy Inc.

Indigenous Planning Perspectives Task Force Report

message from OPPi's president

Last March, OPPI Council held a generative discussion to determine the most appropriate way to include Indigenous perspectives in the planning process and acknowledge Indigenous planning practices. This marked the beginning of a journey for OPPI to:
  • Seek to better understand Indigenous perspectives on planning and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
  • Understand how OPPI can strengthen its institutional frameworks to effectively acknowledge and support Indigenous planning approaches and perspectives
  • Support members as they work collaboratively with Indigenous communities and individuals
From this meeting, Council approved the creation of the Indigenous Perspectives in Planning Task Force (IPPTF). Over the last year, the IPPTF brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous members and professionals from related fields to determine how OPPI can move forward. 

As an Institute, and as a profession, we have some catching up to do. The Task Force members brought forward some hard truths that we need to hear. They also brought messages of hope that the planning profession can attend to and address this matter.

The work done by the IPPTF has been invaluable, and I am pleased to tell you their work has concluded. In June, OPPI Council received a report from the Task Force and approved its series of short and long-term recommendations that impact all facets of the Institute and the planning profession. OPPI staff have started work on an implementation plan that integrates many of the recommendations within existing frameworks so it can become a part of the business and operation of the Institute. 

The Indigenous Perspectives in Planning: Report of the Indigenous Planning Perspectives Task Force is available to read on the OPPI website. Moving forward, OPPI will provide members with a growing resource library and information to learn about engaging Indigenous communities to assist in your roles and practice. A series of webpages have been created, including:
  • An introduction to the report and process
  • Context and concepts for members to understand
  • Duty to Learn, including historical establishing context and a growing resource library
  • The report’s recommendations
  • Contributors to this process and the development of the report

OPPI Council generative discussion with Dr. Duke Redbird, Dr. Sheri Longboat and Calvin Brook, RPP in March 2018

I want to thank the IPPTF, its related Advisory Group, and all other contributors for their dedication on this momentous project for OPPI. I also want to thank Dr. Duke Redbird, Dr. Sheri Longboat and Calvin Brook, RPP, who informed our initial generative discussion in 2018, other key contributors who were instrumental in assisting OPPI, and members for providing their feedback.

This report is the first step in the right direction. This is an initiative that will outlive current members and staff and become transformational for the Institute. I ask you to join me, your Council and OPPI staff on this journey of learning and transformation. It won’t be easy, and mistakes will be made along the way, but as a profession this work will propel us forward and help repair, build and maintain positive, meaningful relationships. 
In 25 years I hope we can look back on the progress made with great humility and discuss the ability of RPPs to fully recognize, acknowledge and appreciate the planning processes that have existed in various Indigenous communities for thousands of years, assist communities across Ontario in engaging with Indigenous Peoples and communities, and set ourselves on a path to real and authentic reconciliation.


Jason Ferrigan, RPP
President, Ontario Professional Planners Institute

Cover image: Danielle Desjarlais and Kateri Lucier-Laboucan, Indigenous Design Studio at Brook McIlroy Inc.

The graphic is based on the Prophesy of the Seven Fires of the Anishinaabe and the idea that we are currently in the time of the seventh fire, when a choice will be made that will determine the future. This is highly relevant to the issue of planning and climate change. This is why the seventh fire at the top of the graphic is without colour. The outcome is up to us as a collective.