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Beyond 25 Banner

conference | October

Moving forward in economic development
and sustainability, technology and healing.

Register Now



Beyond 25 Banner

conference | October

Moving forward in economic development and sustainability, technology and healing.

Register Now



Call for Presentations

Ontario’s municipalities and the planning community have spent most of 2020 responding to the pandemic. Now. What.
At OPPI21, we will explore what it means to move forward in economic development and sustainability, technology, and healing – issues that are fundamental to life in 2021 and beyond.

The call for presentations is now closed.

THANK YOU to all those who submitted proposals to speak at the 2021 conference. We are now hard at work preparing the program for OPPI21, the year’s most talked about planning conference. Those who submitted proposals should be notified of their status in April.

We are also hard at work to determine when, where, and how the conference will take place this year. The health and safety of our conference speakers, attendees, and staff is of the utmost importance. OPPI will continue to monitor the latest government recommendations and make the best decision on whether the conference will take place in person, virtually, or a combination of both. A final decision will be made in the coming months, with an official announcement in June to open registration and share specific details of the event.

In the meantime, please direct any questions to

Key Issues

The key issues that OPPI will be exploring at the Conference are:
  • Economic Development & Sustainability: One of the most important aspects of planning is the role it has in economic development. Whether a community is urban or rural, high growth or low growth, its planners are vital participants in economic development and work to make their communities sustainable for future generations. But is it enough? How can planning policy pivot to meet always-changing market demands and economic trends, while still maintaining focus on the public interest and sustainability? What is the role of planners in addressing issues such as housing requirements as more people work from home, migration to smaller cities and towns for people who seek to reconnect with outdoor spaces to balance working from home, the influence of changing retail models on Main Streets and neighbourhoods, the development of equitable opportunities to unlock the potential of marginalized communities — all within the scope of economic development and sustainability? 
  • Technology: Technology influences every aspect of modern life. In one sense, technology is changing how people work and use office space as they transition from tall skyscrapers to mobile or home offices. But how does this affect transportation and how employment centres are planned and used? Towns and cities that were once declining have embraced tech companies as major employers in a public/private partnership, which, in turn, has led to a renaissance and resurgence that is defining the communities of tomorrow. With data and analytics at their fingertips, planners can remake neighbourhoods, enhance services and engage with residents more efficiently and accurately than ever before. At the same time, there are increasing concerns over data usage and privacy – including how information is collected, shared and secured. How can planners use technology to redevelop communities to benefit the public interest? What policies need to be in place to address privacy and ethical concerns?

Essential Questions and suggested sessions

OPPI’s Planning Knowledge Exchange (PKE) Committee has developed a list of “Essential Questions” designed to encourage genuine inquiry into big ideas and core content which should be used when considering whether to submit a proposal. Please be sure to review the evaluation rubric that will be used to assess all proposals. 
  We are looking for speakers, authors, sessions and content that challenges convention, sparks dialogue, debate and collaboration. Share your ideas with us today by clicking here!

Key dates

  • Online submission site opens: Friday, January 22, 2021
  • Online submission site closes: Friday, February 19, 2021 at midnight 
  • Due to popular demand we've extended the deadline to February 26, 2021 at midnight
  • Notification of proposal status: April 2021
Please note: submissions must be received no later than 11:59 pm EST on the day of the deadline. Submissions will not be accepted after that time.

Conference Presentation Formats

If you would like to speak at the Conference, we recommend you submit a proposal in one of the following formats. If you have a new, exciting and different method for your proposed session, don’t be afraid to suggest it! We are always looking for new, innovative and engaging ways for attendees to learn.

Please note, many of these formats are tailored for an in-person conference; however, should OPPI move to a virtual or other format, many of these sessions may not be used in a virtual environment or they may be modified to present virtually.  

Short, punchy 15-minute sessions designed to convey one or two concepts in a flash. A very popular option that provides considerable diversity for Conference attendees. These sessions also include a 5-minute question and answer period at the end.

Interactive 30 or Interactive 60: Our most popular session types, 30 or 60-minute sessions are designed to transfer specific skills or knowledge on planning-related issues. These sessions should provide practical skill development for planners and can incorporate hands-on experience, audience interaction, lectures and take-away resources. Please note question and answer time is built into both Interactive 30 and 60 sessions.

45-minute sessions led by a facilitator would discuss a topic or challenge and possible solutions. Outcomes are shared with participants - note in this case, your proposal should include a skilled facilitator to guide discussion, rather than a speaker. ​

These sessions are designed to feel more like a conversation and allows for maximum participation by attendees. Seats are arranged in a circular fashion, with 5 seats being left in the middle. These 5 seats represent the “fishbowl,” and anyone sitting in one of those seats is considered a speaker. Audience members are invited to rotate in and out to share their thoughts and continue growing the discussion. Dive into the fishbowl!

These presentations could take the form of Infographics, videos, podcasts, online communities, interactive mapping, blogs, other innovative communication tools or poster presentations (4' high x 4' wide). Presentations will remain open for viewing for the duration of the symposium and presenters will be requested to explain and discuss their work during specified times in the program. Special consideration will be provided to proposals that include reusable digital content that could be added to OPPI’s expanding library of planner-related content, located on OPPI’s Digital Learning site.

Are you using new, innovative technology (e.g. 3D printing, 3D modeling, drones, “smart” technologies, etc.) at work? Do you wish to demonstrate the use of this technology, and showcase how it could be used in the context of a professional planner’s practice? Tech demos are intended to orient attendees to how technologies could complement their existing skillset and aid in a planner’s work in the public interest.

This session format gives local planners, OPPI members and other related professionals the opportunity to share sites and projects in your District. Transportation could be on foot, bike, or public transit. Please note the transportation requirements in your proposal and be aware that workshops requiring chartered buses can be offered at an additional cost for participants. Unlike other session formats where the content relates back to the thematic areas, mobile workshops are not required to focus on these themes.

Student members of OPPI will be invited in September of 2021 to submit proposals for either media presentations or lightning talks based on their research. Further information on the student Call for Presentations will be shared at a later date.

You’re invited to facilitate a session that either makes the audience laugh, or makes the audience think. This can be a short, punchy 15-minute session designed to convey one or two concepts in a flash. A very popular option that provides considerable diversity for Conference attendees. These sessions also include a 5-minute question and answer period at the end.

Have an idea for a session that you don't see captured in the formats listed above? Tell us about your idea to include it in the 2021 Conference program!

Other content formats

In addition to presenting and discussion your work at OPPI21, we welcome you to indicate your willingness to help us deliver educational opportunities throughout the year in several additional formats:
  • The Planning Exchange Blog: OPPI’s blog is a member-sourced platform designed to explore contemporary planning approaches and issues important to your practice, and the public interest. Share your thoughts with Ontario’s professional planners!
  • District events: OPPI’s seven Districts are active year-round, providing members with events designed to educate participants on contemporary issues, often with a local flavour.
  • Livestream/webinar: digital, accessible, popular. Present your research or recent work to your colleagues through an internet livestream or webinar platform.
  • OPPI Website: the new OPPI website will explore planning issues from across the province through case studies, and how RPPs help to improve the quality of life in various Ontario communities. Do you have a case study you would like to share?
  • Y Magazine: OPPI’s magazine will be used to showcase to fellow planners and the public the role and value of RPPs in Ontario and how they work with the public interest in mind.
  • Do you have an additional format you’d like to use to help facilitate the exchange of knowledge for the betterment of planning in Ontario? Please let us know!

How to submit your proposal

All proposals must be submitted using the online submission system. Fax or hardcopy versions will not be accepted.

The online submission system will be open on Monday, January 18th. Start preparing your ideas now!
Submissions must contain the following information:
  • Title of session/piece of content
  • 300 word session description (will be used on the Conference program, social media descriptions, etc.)
  • Identify the thematic area the presentation fits into (Economic Development & Sustainability and Technology)
  • 3 learner outcomes
  • Contact details and biographical details for all speakers/facilitators/contributors
  • Techniques planned to engage the audience (if submitting a proposal for the Conference)
  • Length of presentation (if submitting a proposal for the Conference)
  • Requirements for audio/visual equipment or transportation (if submitting a proposal for the Conference)
  • Whether you are willing to be recorded and/or livestreamed (if submitting a proposal for the Conference)

Selection Criteria and Review Process

All Conference proposals are peer reviewed by OPPI’s Planning Knowledge Exchange (PKE) Committee, and each reviewer assesses proposals against a previously established criterion. Click here to view the criteria. Additional considerations by the PKE committee include content that represents urban, suburban and rural interests and issues, geographic distribution across Ontario, public sector and private sector, gender and gender identity, and perspectives and experience of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) planners, professionals and members of the public.

Please note: content that is intended to solicit business or sell products/services will not be considered.

Review Process
  • All submissions will be peer reviewed.
  • The Committee that reviews submissions may determine that a proposal could or should be presented in a format other than that proposed. The submitter will be consulted in this circumstance.
  • The main contact person listed on the proposal will be emailed with a final decision.
  • The decision of the Review Committee on the inclusion or rejection of a proposal, and the presentation format, is final.
  • Reviewer comments will not be supplied to those who have submitted proposals, nor will the Review Committee respond to requests for comment regarding rejection of any proposal.
If you have any questions about potential sessions or the call for content, please contact us by email at