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Reflecting on the first year of my term as OPPI President, I am proud of our accomplishments. Together we have tackled significant issues and celebrated important milestones.
First, the Inspire OPPI Strategic Plan. It reflects Council’s confidence in the future of planning in Ontario and the critical role members play in that future. It embodies a commitment to protect and further the public interest.
The process was inclusive of a broad array of ideas, perspectives and possibilities. It enabled OPPI Council to gain invaluable insights into what members need to thrive over the next decade, and how the Institute can provide value and support professional advancement.
The result is an insightful Strategic Plan that contemplates an evolving and empowering future for professional planners and the planning profession over the next four years and beyond. This resonates through four strategic directions:
Inspire OPPI challenges members to get involved, to help raise the level of planning practice across the Province. It focuses our activities and helps to allocate resources to advance the profession and the organization.
Second, the upcoming introduction of a Private Members’ Bill updating the OPPI Act. Years of hard work, led by a team of dedicated volunteers and staff, is culminating in the introduction of a Private Members’ Public Bill by MPP Peter Milczyn at Queen’s Park in October. The Bill will formalize much of what we are already doing with respect to managing and building confidence in the planning profession. This is an essential step as planning continues to take a high profile position in decisions related to creating the vibrant, sustainable and healthy communities that underpin the structure of this Province. Decisions makers and the public are looking for confirmation that professionals are involved in shaping that structure.
Third, District Leadership Teams. This year’s District Forum tackled the evolving role of the OPPI Districts and envisioned a shift in structure and function in the years to come. Participants delved into the lofty and the nitty gritty and came away with practical suggestions for collaborating across districts, ensuring leadership continuity, and reaching out to members and other stakeholders.
Fourth, the number, range of topics and quality of the Institute’s policy submissions—which help the profession influence the shape of provincial policy—have been unprecedented with over 100 volunteers contributing to 12 reviews of planning-related legislation. At the same time volunteers are finalizing the Institute’s most recent call to action, Healthy Communities and Planning for the Public Realm, which will be released at the 2016 OPPI Symposium. We are helping to shape the policy that drives the Province’s planning decisions.
At the national level, we mark a new relationship between the PTIAs—the seven provincial/territorial institutes/associations—and CIP, as eight independent organizations. Together we support a robust national voice for planning.
I am always impressed by the number of OPPI members who volunteer to help define and deliver our professional mandate. Take a moment to consider your contribution for the coming year. Join the leadership team: add your perspective, knowledge and experience. Believe me, the professional and personal rewards are substantial.
Andrea Bourrie, RPP
Ontario Professional Planners Institute