Imagining a Bigger Role for CIP by Glenn Miller FCIP


A few years I ago I prepared a brief for the Fellows on the American Planning Association (APA). At the time, I suggested that CIP could benefit from the kind of robust membership base enjoyed by APA – not just because it would strengthen CIP’s national role but because it would make economic sense. In view of the present difficulties faced by CIP, I am wondering if it is time to revisit the APA model.

To recap, APA has more than 40,000 members. Only one third of that number is “professional” – members of AICP. The rest are members of the interested public who sit on planning boards (including elected officials), community committees and the like. They participate in the business of the local chapters and turn up in droves at national conferences. Even though their dues are modest, they collectively contribute handsomely to the APA budget.

I personally believe that CIP should remain as a membership organization. If CIP were to establish a “public” category of membership, engaging what I call the “interested public” in our planning debates, this would enhance the organization’s relevance and – if introduced with some subtlety – could help mend fences with what we use to call affiliates (someone please come up with a better acronym than PTIA – Google thinks a PTIA is a preferential trade and investment agreement!).

The planning profession is not immune to the demographic shift underway. We continue to graduate scores of planners every year. If we realistically expect this new generation of planners to be active members of the profession, it is important that CIP demonstrate it is connected to the communities they – and we – all call home.

Emphasizing bold over bland could be a way forward for the Institute.

Glenn Miller, FCIP, RPP

The new CIP – a professional and community based organization

I would urge the New CIP and its Council composition to be structured so that it can be expanded to reflect and become both a “professional” and “community” based member organization, by setting aside, in our governance model, at least 2 seats on Council to be filled by “leaders/representatives” from the public at large; to be elected by both CIP members who are registered planners and members of CIP (a new category) who are not registered planners.

I believe structuring the New CIP membership to include a member category for the public and provide public members with representation on Council will keep CIP grounded and focused on its mission to represent the voice of Canadian planning and promote excellence in planning, as well as bring a much need community perspective on how effective CIP is in achieving these laudable objectives.

Community and Professional participation in the New CIP will distinguish the New CIP from the PITA’s. The New CIP as a “professional” and “community” oriented national organization will see its potential membership/ learning/conference and communication opportunities far exceed that of the “Old CIP and its Provincial PITA’s.

I also endorse the creation of a New CIP  where members of the Council are elected by CIP members as opposed to PITA appointments; where the President is elected nationally, joined by regional councilors elected territorially; and “constituent representation” involving Fellows, Students and ACUPP elected by their peers.


David Palubeski, FCIP

Five Drivers for a Successful Canadian Institute of Planning – by Bob Lehman FCIP

  1.  A Board that focuses on the big picture, that sets goals based on what really matters and achieves what it sets out to accomplish.

2.   A turned-on membership that drives the agenda and is engaged in decision-making

3.   An organization that achieves great things despite limited resources because members are willing to roll up their sleeves to make things happen.

4.   A co-operative environment focused on the needs of the membership and unhampered by politics and personal or regional agendas.

5.   An infrastructure that delivers results.

Bob Lehman FCIP

Source: Report on governance of similar organizations commissioned by CIP Council in 2013.

What it Means to be a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners – Mary Bishop FCIP

What it Means to be a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners

I’m sure we can all recall what a humbling experience it was when we received that letter or phone call with the news that we were being inducted into the CIP College of Fellows. What an honour it was – and still is.

My initial thought was “What have I done to deserve this?”

Lately, with all the “goings on” at CIP and the active involvement of many of the Fellows, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners. I looked up the nomination guidelines available on the CIP website and read through it. A number of themes jumped out at me, the overarching being the idea that someone who becomes a Fellow has made a nationally significant contribution to planning.

I remember when Gerry Couture, as Past President of CIP, took on the task of reviewing the College of Fellows. He regarded it as an important, yet underutilized resource for the Institute. In his report to Council, he proposed a College of Fellows that would be an active part of CIP, and that election to the College would come with an expectation that you would continue to make a contribution to the profession and provide that national perspective that was meant to be embodied by CIP.

A few years later when I was inducted into the College, I remembered those discussions around the Council table and I’ve tried to live up to the expectation that as a Fellow, I have an obligation to be active in promoting planning, the planning profession, and the affairs of the Institute.

As a College, we represent experience, knowledge, commitment to planning and the profession – at the national level. This may explain the level of concern that Fellows have with regards to CIP’s future.

For me personally, I was profoundly saddened by the resolution put forward at the CIP AGM in Saskatoon to “wind down” the affairs of the Institute, and heartened that so many members felt the same way I do about the importance of having a national voice for planning and the planning profession.

I believe that collectively as Fellows, we have an obligation to support a professional organization that promotes planning nationally. Individually, we also have an obligation to participate in the affairs of our professional association and provide leadership, mentor the next generation of planners, and promote planning wherever we are.

If we’re not doing that, collectively or individually, we’re letting those who nominated us, as well as the profession – down.

Mary Bishop FCIP

St. John’s, NL

My Aspirations for CIP – Nicholas Tunnacliffe FCIP

I am a practical sort of planner and would like to focus on what a revamped CIP could achieve.  So here are my aspirations for CIP.

1)Promote the benefits of planning to all Canadians

“Planning” and “Planners” are dirty words to many.  CIP could have an expanded role in telling the world about the many good things going on in Canada.

2) Represent Canada and its planning internationally

CIP has contributed to the Commonwealth Association of Planners.  It has agreements with RTPI and special relationships with APA and other commonwealth countries.  Is each Affiliate going to renegotiate those relationships or will they die?

3) Collect and disseminate information about planning in Canada

In a previous life I worked with the Transportation Association of Canada.  Every five years they commissioned a survey of all 23 CMAs in Canada to determine the state of transportation there.  CIP could be doing something similar.  That is just one example.

4) Support the education and training of Planners

 I would like CIP to be more involved in the PSB process with input from all those involved in teaching planning with a view to having a more extensive core curriculum, and ultimately higher standards.

I realize that CIP has a number of scholarships including the Fellows Scholarship for travel.  I think CIP needs to have many more so it becomes the “go to” place for students.  They will becomethe future members.  Again the TAC experience is instructive.  They had a drive a few years ago to establish a number of scholarships which if memory serves me right were put in place for a five year term.

5) Undertake original research in planning.

A particular interest of mine would be the intersection of the economy, the environment and social sciences.   But whoever is responsible would determine the priorities and interests.

6) Recognize achievement of planning in Canada

7) Promote planning to the Federal Government

With due respect to planners working for the Federal Government, planning at the Federal level is weak, yet that level of government has the potential for much change in our society.  Airports, ports, First Nations, pipelines, social policy, economic policy, environmental policy etc.  The location of the CIP office in Ottawa provides an opportunity to demonstrate that planning can be beneficial.

8) Foster relations with other national organizations.

The other professions all have National and Provincial organizations.  We should learn from them   In addition there are National organizations that have a close affinity to planning.  I have mentioned TAC, but FCM and National environmental organizations spring to mind.

All this will not be done in a day.  So  are there immediate things that can be done?

CIP has become distant from the members, so from my point of view I see an immediate need for much more communication from CIP to the members via e-mail.

I am a member of RTPI and over the last few years they have upgraded their communications policy so that the Journal appears once a month, but only electronically.  Why could not CIP do that?  In addition on Tuesdays and Fridays I receive a digest of news relating to planning from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.  Imagine if, twice a week, I received up dates on what was influencing my professional life  from every Province in Canada.  Yes the Affiliates could contribute but it would be a truly CIP initiative.  I would begin to think that CIP was really useful.

But there is a philosophical problem.  CIP has allowed itself to become a creature of/manipulated by? the Affiliates.  My vision is that CIP is bigger than the sum of its parts, namely the Affiliates.  So what is everyone else s vision for CIP?  If it is to be the vassal of the Affiliates so be it, but I think it could be much more.

Of course that raises other questions about who should be on the Board of CIP?  Is it only to be members nominated by the Affiliates?  Or should some new and different blood be also considered?  Or can the existing Board be convinced to think more broadly?

Please forgive my ramblings  I am writing this at a beach bar in the Dominican Republic.  There is a view of a three kilometre stretch of beach with four perfect palm trees all ready to drop their coconuts close by, and I have an ice cold Presidente (the local beer) in front of me.  No wonder I forgot to write everything that I wanted to write.

Nick Tunnacliffe

CIP FutureFORWARD Task Force: A Fellow’s Perspective – Dave Witty FCIP

CIP FutureFORWARD Task Force: A Fellow’s Perspective[1]

Please note this is not a Task Force Perspective

Prepared by: David Witty PhD, MRAIC, FCIP, RPP Fellow Rep on Task Force: October 13, 2015 Update 7

Thank you for the opportunity to represent your interests in this critical stage of CIP’s future. I realise that the process that the Task Force (TF) has been immersed in since mid-August has been one of ‘getting a handle’ on the facts. In addition to the TF, an Advisory Panel was formed of those who volunteered to sit on the TF. The Advisory Panel (some of whom are Fellows) has provided feedback on the TF work. Over the past month, the TF has reached out to PTIA’s in two main ways. First, the TF Chairs have met with the Presidents and ED’s (where ED’s exist) of the PTIA’s and, where available, provided a presentation at AGM’s or Council meetings (or attempted to provide a presentation in the case of OPPI) on the work of the TF and its interim findings. As well, much as been posted on the CIP FutureFORWARD website.

The TF has been very energetic and active in exploring where CIP is at, possible future scenarios for activities and the development of a transition plan. The Co-Chairs, have been instrumental in spearheading that effort as well as dialoguing with Members via email and twitter.

As the Fellow rep, I have determined that the Fellows should be involved in as many practical Task Force (TF) conversations and activities as possible. To that end, I attended a face to face two day meeting in Ottawa, sat on two TF sub-committees (Core Services; Communications), attended a tele-conference with John Jarvie, Chair PSB, attended tele-conference with Advisory Panel and am now involved in developing, with others, a job description for a new Executive Director[2]. There have been many telephone tele-conferences and meetings. My point is to say, on your behalf, I have been very active.

As well, I have been vocal. Vocal in pushing our present National Council to do better, to commit to a revamped CIP and associated conversations (in the face of what appeared to be a continual ‘winding down’). I have taken some flack for that vocal expression of concern and challenge to National Council’s seemingly wind down model; notwithstanding assurances to the contrary. It is my view that push back from the TF (and possibly some of my emails to you) have had a positive affect (more on that below).

Why am I so passionate? Why push hard?

As Fellows, most of you have your own story and commitment to a strong CIP. Mine relates to the initial shock that there could possibly be a motion to “wind down CIP” (Plan Canada: Hazel Christy Vol. 55, No. 3, p.2); an organisation that is a few years from its 100 birthday! An organisation that is rich in history; a history that claims one of the greatest planners, Thomas Adams, to have practiced in Canada, Great Britain and the United States as our first President. Unfortunately, it is a history that we have not celebrated as fully as we should.[3]

  1. More to the point: Where are we at?

The facts speak for themselves.

In seeking registration, we have entered a very different world. A world that is framed by provincial legislation that is not consistent across the country. That world has taken on a different tone and hue. It appears to be a tone directed by provincial interests over national. It is a hue that colours the expedient over the cumbersome. The old CIP is seen by many PTIA’s to be cumbersome, out of tune with needs and, frankly, unresponsive. In my view, there is much in the latter that has merit.

We are where we are because of a mix of issues, mix of jurisdictional needs, and mix of messages. All of which have conspired to focus on the short term, rather than the long term. As a result, the attention of Council was on ‘winding down’ rather than working out a long-term strategy for the future of a ‘new’ CIP. By the time the Members spoke in Saskatoon, the unwinding was well underway.

When the TF got together in Ottawa in mid-August, TF members were concerned that a National Council would consider ‘winding down’ CIP without a transition plan or a comprehensive consultation with Members. But, TF members also realised that this was a chance to ‘right the wrong’ and put in place a transition to a more fulsome organisation that could address a number of Principles. Those Principles framed our discussions and are meant to provide direction for a revamped CIP (see below)[4].


The TF is faced with a National Council Critical Path Chart that has a new governance model in place for June 2016. While such a short time frame, seems to be onerous, it does provide urgency for the TF and all CIP Members. To that end the TF developed a series of actionable items that fell into one of three categories: Urgent, Immediate and Longer Term (Recommend in Report). Key highlights of the Ottawa meeting (and much of the work since then) included the following.



1.1 Core Principles:

  1. CIP will first and foremost focus on our members.
  2. CIP will support our provincial affiliates with an agreed upon division of labour.
  3. CIP will define and articulate the profession of planning.
  4. CIP will be the voice of Canadian planning.
  5. CIP will advocate quality urban, suburban, and rural planning results.
  6. CIP will be transparent and inclusive in all our activities.

1.2 Financial Framework:

Top Considerations:

  1. Verify member commitment to CIP (essential for budgeting and investment in Member Services)
  2. Ability and contribution toward CIP membership
  3. Ensure legal aspects of fee collection are addressed.

1.3 Summary of Discussion:

  1. Renew CIP affiliate agreements.
  2. Direct voluntary membership to CIP.
  3. Establish a hybrid of the two items above.
  4. In the spirit of being inclusive as an organization, CIP, immediately re-engage with Quebec to generate alignment between organizations.

1.4 On Core Services:

1.4.1 Guiding Principles: Member Services


  1. CIP will focus on Member Services as a key core activity.
  2. CIP will promote close partnerships with PTIA’s to advance Member Services.
  3. Member Services that support member professional practice and related activities are considered a central key investment.
  4. Advancing and promoting the work of the profession through advocacy and outreach is an important core service.
  5. Building a strong International presence over the near term should be promoted.

1.4.2 Member Services Framework and Description

The Canadian Institute of Planners is a professional institute focused on providing professional support, conducting advocacy and outreach, and enhancing international links to over 7,800 Members of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.47.42 PM

Important to each of the three key core member service areas is the role of CIP to facilitate a continuous dialogue with members on all aspects of CIP.

The proposed core services are in alignment with CIP’s Articles of Continuance filed October 17th, 2014:

  • To create awareness of the value of planning and the role of the professional planner in representing the public interest;
  • To serve as a nation-wide forum for knowledge sharing about planning and related issues, in the broadest sense;
  • To conduct research and advocating positions on planning issues of national significance;
  • To serve as the voice of Canadian planning nationally and engaging internationally;
  • To provide services and support to the Provincial and Territorial Institutes and Associations as needed and requested;
  • To make CIP’s knowledge sharing services available to the broader planning community; and
  • To accept any gift, endowment or bequest made to or for the institute, upon trust or otherwise.

The proposed core services are separated into priority and long-term core services.

  • Priority core services should be pursued immediately by CIP.
  • Long-term core services represent the core services that CIP should be working toward over the course of the next 5 years.


The purpose of identifying short and long term core services is to distinguish what CIP can pragmatically deliver as it transitions out of the current wind-down mode, and what CIP will have the capacity to deliver as it transitions and readjusts its priority activities.


  1. Support to the Profession (including Professional Development and Knowledge Sharing)

CIP provides a platform for Members of the CIP and PTIAs to obtain professional support, advance professional development and share knowledge about national planning issues.

  1. Advocacy & Outreach

CIP enables Members of the CIP and the PTIAs to influence policy affecting national planning issues.

  1. International Engagement & Support

CIP acts as Canada’s voice on planning internationally, and provides opportunities for Members of the CIP and the PTIAs to engage internationally.

1.5 On the Budget

The TF has completed a detailed review of the budget and has determined that with the changes in Member fee collection the financial health of CIP is at serious risk. To that end the TF is considering the following (subject to feedback):

  • A special assessment of fee increase for a limited period of time;
  • Limited spending from reserve funding;
  • Revenue generated from national and international projects;
  • Revenue generated from professional development; and
  • Alignment of services and staff.

In particular, the TF noted that the significant income generated from international activity was terminated as a revenue stream. The TF believes that reinvigorating revenue generation, such as international contracts, will be critical to the long-term financial sustainability of CIP.

1.6 On Governance

The TF continues to consider various governance models. Clearly, the changes emanating from the PTIA model and associated provincial administered registration has become a key ‘driver’ in any governance discussions. Further, there are individual variations amongst PTIA’s with regard to bylaws and associated mechanisms to collect Member fees on behalf of CIP. As a result, OPPI and CIP were unable to agree on a method and cost of service for fee collection by OPPI on behalf of CIP. That issue has created financial uncertainty for CIP.

Assuming PTIA’s (for whatever reason) are not able to collect CIP fees, CIP’s stable revenue stream could be affected. While none of the PTIA’s has expressed an issue with collecting a membership fee for CIP, that potential issue could affect CIP’s revenue if there is an inability to agree to a fee for service on the collection of fees (i.e., fees collected by CIP on behalf of a PTIA or by a PTIA for CIP). In that case, bilateral negotiations will need to occur on the cost to collect the fee. Notwithstanding some current messaging, there may not be any barriers to the fee collection but there will need to be put in place some solid basis for future arrangements.

A basic key issue emerges if PTIA’s are not able or obligated to have their Members also be Members of CIP. For instance, OPPI and OUQ are not obligated in their current bylaws for their members to be CIP members. That basic issue has immense structural implications for a future CIP. While there have been legal opinions provided to both OPPI and CIP that confirm that OPPI is unable to provide a vehicle for one time consent to be a dual Member of OPPI and CIP, there is also evidence from other PTIA’s that dual Membership is both feasible and possible. Given all that has transpired over the past few years, there is unease, a sense that Member interests as represented by CIP were not being forcefully defended. This issue will need more attention over near term.

As a result, the TF (and CIP Members) are faced with a very challenging discussion about future governance while the National Council Critical Path Timeline approaches rapidly.

I am hoping that there will be more on the governance model from the TF over the next week or so.

  1. Now where?

There are a number of conversations taking place amongst the Fellows (see: comments from Mark Dorfman and Bob Lehman) in the Fellows Blog:

While I respect the Fellows’ interest in exploring what potential new models might look like, I caution that those discussions may not align with the TF efforts. We do know that, while an ‘organization of organizations’ was proposed by National Council, there may likely be other organizational options, including a ‘blended’ governance structure that started to emerge amongst Members after Saskatoon.

I will admit I was tempted to put some of my own thinking about alternatives down for feedback, but I realize that would not well serve the work of the TF. So, please continue to bear with us and me as the TF completes its work.

From my perspective, before formal organizational options are explored in detail, there needs to be a completed review of options by the TF, as influenced by Member and PTIA feedback. Otherwise, there emerges a speculative conversation. But, should Fellows continue to dialogue about potential models I will monitor same and report back to the TF.

Having said that, however, please provide feedback on any other part of this report that you would like to address. In particular, do you have thoughts on 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 above?

Thanks for your time.


[1] This report is part of Update #7 to Fellows. A total of seven Updates have been sent out over the past two months.

[2] There seems to have been a change in National Council’s initial hesitation to not accept the TF recommendation to hire an Interim ED.

[3] Thanks to Len Gertler, I was able to study Thomas Adams and discover his legacy that is too often unknown or under appreciated. Forgive me, but this is a personal story. When I became President of CIP in 1988, I was humbled to think that I was now President of an organisation that Thomas Adams had helped to create. That feeling stays with me today.


[4] For a summary of the TF work to date please go to:

Comment by Mark Dorfman FCIP

Excellent thinking. I believe in the six Core Principles and the three parts of the Framework.

In my mind, CIP should function as an independent NGO focussed on the people who choose to be members. When established, the CIP should focus on the future that engages its members in deep thinking. I see CIP functioning as a
Network of members (planners without borders) rather than a network of PTIAs.

The Members are those who are professional Planners in Canada (i.e. members of PTIAs), as well other interested participants. CIP should take the form of a network governed primarily by the professional Members and secondly, by
those non-PTIA members who choose to be CIP members. The uncertainty is whether the PTIAs should sit on the governing Council. My interest is that all members of the Council must be accountable to the professional members and those others who choose to join.

As a forward thinking network, it’s role is present ideas about the future: ideas that are critical and relevant would be Climate Change and how it influences the way we live on the ground in Canada; Water as a unifying force; Human health; Food supply, among others. The important products are
the publications online and hard copy and the forums for discussing ideas.

Funding should come from the membership and if there are critical issues that have a pan-Canada importance then the PTIAs should engage CIP. We need to look to relevant corporations and foundations for assistance. We need to
engage younger generations either as students of the profession or those you have interests in the way we live. CIP can collaborate internationally on a variety of issues that are cross-border influences.

Hopefully, we will have an opportunity to respond to the Task Force recommendations at the same time as CIP Council is considering this. Also, our ideas should be communicated to each of the PTIAs and to the CIP Members and students.

Obviously I have a special interest in the advancement of CIP. It was 41 years ago that the organization transitioned into CIP. As the first president of CIP, I was deeply involved in that transition. As a young planner, I was engaged. As a result I was elected twice to Council.

I credit John Steil and the other Fellows that have responded to the Task Force for giving life to its success.

CIP By Choice!


Mark L. Dorfman, F.C.I.P.



The CIP FutureForward Task Force is nearing the end of its mandate to provide advice to our National Council – three weeks until the reporting deadline of November 1. They have asked for comment on their latest communication which can be found here:

The Task Force has also posted a Powerpoint Presentation on principles and direction for the new CIP dated . It can be found here:

In reviewing the material it seems appropriate to refresh our understanding of the expectations of the Task Force so that we can consider and comment on the recommendations when they come forward.

The full Terms of Reference can be found here:

The specific priorities and products identified by the Task Force and CIP Council that are to be addressed by November first are:

  1. Prepare a summary background and context report to inform the membership of the history of CIP, current and anticipated drivers for change, and options.
  2. Verify the CIP membership’s commitment, ability and contribution toward a CIP membership fee. Ensure legal aspects of fee collection are fully addressed.
  3. Complete a financial impact review of proposed governance model and outline options for future viability.
  4. Complete a review of the bylaws and propose new bylaws as required to move from the current state to a future solid state for CIP.
  5. Complete a review of the current governance structure and propose governance options.
  6. Outline recommendations to solidify CIP as a strong, reinvigorated national organization.

The governance options in 5, recommendations in item 6, and the other material, will then be considered by Council as important advisory material for their decisions on the future of CIP. The focus is on the long term future role of CIP so Council has the broadest range of information on the options available to them.

The Task Force has developed principles and a core service model in a draft form and will be filing their report in three weeks. In my opinion the Task Force would be most helpful to Council and the membership if it set out options for the future role of CIP and advise Council as to what the structure and implications would be of each option.

To get the ball rolling. here is my take on what could be two reasonable options. First what the Task Force seems to be heading for, and secondly a much broader mandate to promote the value of planning for all who have an interest.

Option 1 – Scaled Down Status Quo

The Task Force has published six ‘core principles’ to guide the work of the organization:

  • CIP will first and foremost focus on members;
  • CIP will support provincial affiliates with an agreed upon division of labour;
  • CIP will define and articulate the profession of planning;
  • CIP will be the voice of Canadian planning;
  • CIP will advocate quality urban, suburban and rural planning results; and,
  • CIP will be transparent and inclusive of all activities.

My take on these –

CIP will first and foremost focus on members – I don’t think is a principle so much as an operating requirement, so to the degree that this expresses the need to provide services that will generate membership, it is valuable. But I am not sure that it really needs to be said.

CIP will support provincial affiliates with an agreed upon division of labour – I don’t get this one. Why would CIP support provincial affiliates, particularly ones who have decided to effectively not support CIP. I understand that the smaller PTIAs do not have the efficiencies of scale that CIP could formerly provide, and as such there can be a good relationship that serves the planners in these jurisdictions. However I don’t see that as a basic principle for the existence of CIP, a service perhaps but not a reason for being. The three PTIA’s that need assistance could similarly form a co-operative organization to do the same thing.

CIP will define and articulate the profession of planning – Not really, the PSB, PTIA’s and the planning schools will do that, not CIP. That train sailed out of the barn a few years ago. The PSB is currently rewriting the definition of planning and each province has or will have legislation that articulates what the profession of planning constitutes. This should be eliminated, it is simply out of date and wrong.

CIP will be the voice of Canadian planning – This one is 100% right. We need a national voice, something that is so important in a country with our vast geography and empty spaces. We have seen the government of Canada deteriorate over the last decade into a parochial and reactionary drag on an informed and enlightened society. It is this view of the world that CIP should be engaged in changing.

CIP will advocate quality urban, suburban and rural planning results – Not sure what this really means – CIP will lobby for good planning everywhere? I hope so.

CIP will be transparent and inclusive of all activities – A great operating principle. CIP should set the example for the PTIAs, some of which need help in this field. But this is an operating principle, not a function or role.

The Task Force has also developed a core service framework which is as follows:

(1) Support to the Profession (including professional development and knowledge sharing): CIP provides a platform for Members and PTIAs to obtain professional support, advance professional development and share knowledge about national planning issues. (e.g. training materials, access to planning resources, annual conferences, publish planning journals/publications, monitoring standards, other)

(2) Advocacy & Outreach: CIP enables Members of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the PTIAs to influence policy affecting national planning issues. (e.g. building capacity, issuing calls to action/position papers, engaging and inspiring young planners to join profession, other)

(3) International Engagement and Support: CIP acts as Canada’s voice on planning internationally, and provides opportunities for Members of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the PTIAs to engage internationally. (e.g. partnerships with international partners, marketing Canadian planning expertise abroad)

As the Task Force notes these core services differ little from the status quo, although CIP has moved away from international work over the last five years. The reason for this change was that CIP’s role was typically as the administrator of federal government funds through CIDA (or a similar organization) that were used to further planning in another country.   The previous Council had concerns that CIP was accepting the liability for these projects without any real oversight or insurance. Most of the international projects were effectively revenue and cost neutral at best as the funds flowed through CIP, with a small amount paid to us for administration.

The Task Force notes that “the extent of national work and scope will be defined by the membership going forward” and that this “This may be reflected more explicitly in a subsequent revision of the core principles.” This is very appropriate but I am sure it would be helpful to Council to have the Task Force set out some options for what CIP will do and how it will operate.

The September 22 presentation includes some budget calculations that already seem outdated, as they assume that CIP will generate more in revenue next year than they did in 2010, when membership was mandatory. The comparison to OPPI, while interesting, is not very relevant as every planner in Ontario must join OPPI to retain their professional qualifications, and many are paid by their employer. CIP will no longer be in this category, and will be competing against other personal and corporate budgetary options – like Greenpeace or the World Wildlife Fund. The membership take-up is the big unknown, so a Big Question for the Task Force falls under # 2 of their priorities.

Big Question – the revenue generated from membership fees constitutes the base for any services that are provided – the value proposition. CIP will have to maintain and attract members based on individual decisions about the value they receive for the membership fees.

Hopefully some will remain members because they are committed to the cause of planning but I expect many will consider, for the first time, whether what they receive for their fee is worth the cost. The Task Force will be reporting on their view of the take-up of membership as part of #2 in their Terms of Reference. I wonder if a simple on-line survey of the membership would help this to be determined. Perhaps there is a potential at the same time to find out what amount of fee would be paid for what services. As a comparison there are 15,000 certified planner members of the American Planning Association and 12,000 non-certified members.

If the Task Force cannot provide some empirical evidence to support their view of membership take up and the resulting revenue, CIP Council will have to be most conservative and build their service offering and membership very cautiously and strategically. A not-for-profit cannot speculate on being financially viable.

I see this option as a slightly more broken version of the former CIP. Revenues will be significantly less, but unknowable until later this year at best. The TF has suggested a time limited special levy to increase the revenues. The governance model continues the role of the PTIA’s, which has contributed significantly to the current situation.  If there was a better link between potential revenues and costs it would make more sense

Option 2 – the Big Tent

In the next few months the 7,000 odd planners in Canada will be asked individually to support our national institute, rather than having their CIP fees bundled with the provincial fees. In order to attract the funds for a national organization there must be both a collective and individual value attached to the membership.

As a second option for Council to consider I would suggest that the new CIP be based on the following value proposition:

  1. Providing a national and international voice for Canadian planners
  2. Being the trusted source of information and education about planning in Canada
  3. Acting in the collective interest of the membership at a national level
  4. Creating a national community of those interested in planning.

I want to find a future that has a national planning organization in it. In order to do so we need to stop thinking about a professional organization that is exclusively for planners. I see CIP as an organization with both a professional and educational element – a large tent for people who care about planning. Issues of ethics, standards, and accreditation are no longer CIP’s responsibility. We should start leading the people in this country who care about our communities and want to participate in planning.

There are thousands of “citizen planners” who would support planning efforts take advantage of access to the educational and informational resources we would offer our Members. There is a huge gap nationally that we can fill if we are freed from the need to cater to provincial interests. At a huge personal risk I would quote the Queen lyrics ” I want to break free”.

Imagine an organization that has all those in the planning community involved in national issues. And a Board that represents the country, not the provinces, and with a membership of only those who chose to be members.

We will be smaller to start, but we need to prove our worth to members in any case.

Our shared passion as planners is for the health of our communities – and achieving that goal is only be possible with the participation of our communities in the planning process. I see the future of the profession as one in which we should be opening the planning tent to all – not spending our national resources on name protection or regulation but rather finding the means to educate and facilitate.

For this reason I don’t think that the involvement of the PTIA’s in the national planning organization is needed – they regulate the profession, that is their primary goal and that perspective is provincial, not national.
 So the organization must evolve. This is a simple fact and the reality – we must move on from where we are.

Love to hear your thoughts, please comment and keep the discussion going. Looking forward to the Task Force’s thoughts.

Bob Lehman

This post is entirely my personal opinion and does not represent in any way the view of the members of the College of Fellows.




The national professional body representing planners across Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, is facing an existential crisis. Its future is on a knife edge.

This is a post from the blog of Cliff Hague, Past President, RTPI & Commonwealth Assoc of Planners. Author/consultant/blogger. Chair Built Environment Forum Scotland. Emeritus Prof, Heriot-Watt Univ.  The last two paragraphs link the CIP situation to that of other similar national planning organizations.

Cliff’s blog can be found at

The national professional body representing planners across Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, is facing an existential crisis. Its future is on a knife edge.


The Canadian Institute of Planners may go out of existence by the end of this year. The CIP currently has about 7,800 members and was founded in 1919, making it one of the largest and oldest professional planning institutes in the world. However, the institute’s Council has unanimously voted to wind down the organisation. Shortly before the AGM in Saskatoon at the end of June, members received an announcement from the outgoing CIP Council advising of their resolution to commence the closing down of CIP. The AGM rejected this proposition. The following motion was carried:
“That the membership inform Council that they reject the outgoing Council’s position in their last-minute communiqué, and direct Council to work with the members and affiliates to reinvigorate CIP as a national organization.”
Why has this crisis arisen?
In part the issues are particular to Canada, but in other respects they indicate the stresses and strains that professional planning institutes now face.
Canada is a federal country, and the Provinces have their own bodies that represent planners. Thus the Ontario Professional Planners Institute has over 4,000 members and describes itself as “the recognized voice of the planning profession in Ontario”. It has its own Professional Code of Practice and regulates the actions of its member through a Discipline Committee in the public interest. This means there is a structural tension and potential duplication between these province-based institutes and the CIP which has the national role. Given the sheer size of Canada and the very limited role that the Federal government plays in planning and urban issues, it is easy to see that for many planners the first professional loyalty will be to their provincial organisation.

Like all member institutes, CIP depends heavily on subscriptions. Similarly, in seeking to operate nationally and internationally, it faces significant financial demands. While large by the standards of many other countries, the CIP is nowhere near the size of the RTPI or the American Planning Association, or of some of the sister professions in the built environment field. One reason for its Council’s proposal to run down the institute is an inability to agree on a sustainable funding model.
The path to re-allignment
In 2011 the CIP initiated a project called Planning for the Future. This resulted in a proposal, which was supported by CIP members, to shift responsibility for the professional certification of members and the accreditation of planning schools from the CIP itself to the provincial institutes and the new national Professional Standards Board. In effect, this amounted to a hollowing out of core CIP functions.
Changes in federal legislation governing not-for-profit organisations influenced the path that CIP took, including a proposed change of name from Canadian Institute of Planners to Canadian Institute of Planning, to emphasise its public interest role.
Proposed constitutional changes were put to members in a ballot in the first half of 2014. Essentially the proposition was that CIP become an “organisation of organisations”. Only 11% of the membership voted, but most supported the changes. However, a wider consultation that began in September 2014 revealed a different picture. Members did not like the idea that they would no longer be able to vote for who would become President; instead the President would be chosen by a Board representing the constituent provincial organisations. Students would no longer have a place on the Board. Some feared that international activity would be jeopardised by the new arrangements.

The provincial institutes support the continuance of CIP as a national body, but they have difficulties with the proposal that they would be compelled to make their individual members become members of CIP. At the AGM at the end of June, it was confirmed that CIP could not legally impose such a requirement. This directly threatens the financial viability of CIP: it is easy to see that some planners will opt to pay subscriptions to their provicial professional body, but not to pay an additional subscription to also be a CIP member.

Thus the AGM also heard of the CIP’s latest financial risk assessment in relation to the responsibilities of CIP Council members as trustees. It was the inability to resolve these issues that led to the proposal to run down the institute, with the Council members feeling that legally and procedurally there was no other course of action open to them
Since the AGM rejected the proposal for closure, a task force has been set up to try to resolve the problems and save the CIP. It met on 17 and 18 August, and is actively working to try to shape a new governance model. Even if this can be achieved, and CIP survives, there must be a fear that it will be financially diminished and a less effective voice for planning in Canada and abroad.


While the crisis has been brought about by some specifically Canadian factors, it should send a shiver down the backs of other professional planning institutes. The CIP has reciprocal links with the RTPI; if it disappears then such links would presumably need to be built afresh with each of the provincial associations across Canada. Australia, another large, federal country, with an overarching national institute, the Planning Institute of Australia, but a strong state and local basis for planning, might also ponder what lies ahead. The Commonwealth Association of Planners, which itself operates as an “organisation of organisations”, risks losing one of its largest members, and with it a significant part of its subscription income. CIP has also played an active part in supporting the planning profession in the Caribbean.

More fundamentally, there are questions about what level of organisation is best for promoting the planning profession. In this respect, the RTPI seems to have been smart in devolving some capacity to its Regions and Nations, though the asymmetrical demography of the UK means that an English perspective is still likely to dominate.

I have argued before that planning institutes are too parochial and that their commitment to an international voice for the profession is too weak and marginalised. I believe that this is a direct consequence of the local/provincial basis of much planning practice and even legislation. When you are involved in international level advocacy through bodies like the Commonwealth, the EU or the UN, you quickly realise what a disadvantage this is. Architecture, surveying or engineering are not only much larger professions, but also operate practices and use concepts that are much more globally portable, and much less specific to national policy frameworks.
Size matters. In a rapidly urbanising world, where the failures to plan today will have long lasting consequences, in many countries there is little prospect of being able to sustain a professional planning institute with the resources to effectively input to policy-making.

If Canada can no longer do it, what hope is there for the many countries where urbanisation is running at 3% plus each year and there is either no body representing planners, or the number of members of the professional planning institute is less than 50? A global body, with the staffing resource to enable it to speak credibly for planning, but with links into and beyond the national professional planning institutes is needed.

Five National Planning Institutes – a Comparison

In order to understand the international context for planning institutes I have consolidated the stated objectives and related material from the websites of the Canadian Institute of Planners, the Royal Town Planning Institute of the United Kingdom, the American Planning Association and related American Institute of Certified Planners, the Planning Institute of Australia and the New Zealand Planning Institute. It is a fascinating comparison of the national organizations that represent about  65,000 english speaking planners.  Comments appreciated.

Canadian institute of plannersThe Canadian Institute of Planners

The Canadian Institute of Planners works on behalf of over 7,800 planning professionals nation-wide, serving as the voice of Canada’s planning community. Since its beginning in 1919, CIP has grown into a federated national organization with Provincial and Territorial Institutes and Associations across Canada, and with links to planning associations worldwide.

Planning addresses the use of land, resources, facilities and services in ways that secure the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities. Our members work in both the public service and the private sector, across fields such as land use planning, environmental resource management, land development, heritage conservation, social planning, transportation planning, and economic development.

The 2012-2015 Strategic Plan presents the CIP Vision, Mission and Values Statement:

VISION – Improved quality of life through excellence in professional planning.

MISSION – To advance planning in Canada and abroad by serving, educating, informing and engaging our members.

VALUES – Integrity • Innovation • Collaboration




The Chartered Object of the Royal Town Planning Institute is to advance the science and art of town planning for the benefit of the public. The Royal Town Planning Institute is the UK’s leading planning body for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning and is the largest planning institute in Europe with over 23,000 members.

Supporting our members throughout their professional careers is at the heart of everything we do.
Trudi Elliott,
RTPI Chief Executive

The RTPI is:

A membership organisation and a Chartered Institute responsible for maintaining professional standards and accrediting world class planning courses nationally and internationally.
A charity whose charitable purpose is to advance the science and art of planning (including town and country and spatial planning) for the benefit of the public.
A learned society.

We also run Planning Aid England and have a trading company, RTPI Services Limited.

Our campaigning activity covers a wide range of issues, helping to raise the profile of the profession and generate awareness of the invaluable contribution planners make to building sustainable communities and helping to drive economic wealth.

We work in partnership with employers to promote the professional development of planning professionals.



The American Planning Association provides leadership in the development of vital communities by advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment,

and providing the tools and support necessary to meet the challenges of growth and change. APA membership is open to everyone who is committed to applying the benefits of planning to create communities of lasting value. We welcome individuals who work in allied professions, as well as also interested citizens who want to help their communities. Allied professionals and engaged citizens who join APA enjoy full benefits of membership. There are about 27,000 members of APA of which about 15,000 are also members of AICP, who are certified, subject to disciplinary proceedings and have a continuous professional learning requirements.

What Does APA Do?
As leaders of the planning movement, APA acts on many fronts.

We advocate for planning at the national level; support chapters’, divisions’, and members’ efforts at the state and local levels; and file amicus briefs in selected court cases.
We promote good planning through vigorous public information and education programs.
We produce digital and print materials that describe the outcomes of good planning, educate the nation about planning, and reinforce the individual and collective efforts of APA members.
We assure excellence in the field — and raise the stature of the planning profession — by supporting the efforts of the Planning Accreditation Board and emphasizing the importance of AICP certification for practicing planners.
We develop accessible, affordable continuing education programs.
We support certified planners in their pursuit of certification maintenance.
We promote a diverse workforce by bringing employers and job seekers together through our job services.
We assure excellence in local decision making by offering training, information, and support to planning commissioners, elected officials, and engaged citizens.
We seek national and international partnerships to advance both the planning movement and principles of sustainability, inclusion, and nondiscrimination.
We address issues of social equity in our publications, host diversity forums, and provide a diversity portal on our website.
We work to attract and retain minority members so our membership will reflect the nation’s diversity.
We enhance the state of planning knowledge by identifying and fulfilling a vigorous agenda of applied research.
We share research results with our subscribers, members, and, ultimately, the national community.


The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is the American Planning Association’s professional institute. AICP certifies professionals in the United States in the field of Urban planning and assists planners in the areas of ethics, professional development, planning education, and the standards of planning practice. Members of AICP pledge to adhere to a detailed Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Once certified, professional planners may place the designation “AICP” after their name to indicate their membership in AICP, and their mastery of the principles, skills, knowledge, and experience determined by the organization as essential for a professional planner.



Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) is the national body representing planning and the planning profession. Through education, communication and professional development, PIA is the pivotal organisation serving and guiding thousands of planning professionals in their role of creating better communities.

PIA currently represents approximately 4800 members nationally and internationally, and connects with 7500 planners annually. We are governed by a National Board of Directors and managed by a professional administration. We are a member-based organisation with its management complemented by volunteers, who support and contribute to our activities on various levels.

Our vision is Leading effective planning for people and places

We will realise our vision by:

Advocating for Better Planning: Our advocacy and policy development targets the outcomes and processes needed to better plan for the future, and the challenges we face.
Developing High Quality Planners: We build the capacity and capability of the planning profession to deliver better planning for communities.

Supporting the Profession: We support and nurture planners throughout their career to create a strong, connected planning community.


The objects for which the Institute is established are:

(a) To provide national leadership for the advancement of environmental, social and economic benefits of planned use of land in the natural and built environments;

(b) To provide influential advice concerning the environmental, social and economic impacts and implications of the use of land;

(c) To foster and strengthen the community perception of planned use of land and associated systems as a critical means to serve the public interest;

(d) To advance the professional interests of Members;

(e) To establish and administer standards of competency amongst persons working professionally in the disciplines involved in land use planning.

(f) To foster and strengthen the technical knowledge and professionalism of persons working professionally in the disciplines involved in land use planning.

(g) To provide for and encourage education and training in the disciplines involved in land use planning;

(h) To provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and views relating to the issues in and associated with the planned and unplanned use of land;

(i) To harness the Industry’s collective knowledge on issues affecting the Industry and to collect and disseminate information concerning the planned and unplanned use of land.

(j) To provide international leadership for the advancement of environmental, social and economic benefits of planned use of land in the natural and built environments;

(k) To deliver accountability and good corporate governance of the Institute to the Members; and

(l) To do all other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objects or any of them or which may be calculated to advance directly or indirectly the interests of the Institute.



Established in 1949, the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) is the home of planning in New Zealand. Possessing 11 branches both within New Zealand and overseas. As part of a dynamic, varied and challenging profession, our growing membership of over 2000 members are involved in strategic planning initiatives and implementation of urban and rural plans.

The NZPI has evolved since 1949 and is now a complex organisation that delivers extensive training, networking opportunities, advocacy, real time planning news, mentoring, professional standards monitoring, accreditation of tertiary planning education in NZ and good practice guidance through the Quality Planning resource.

Membership of NZPI is the hallmark of professional expertise and integrity within the planning profession and your key to success.
Vision Statement – “The New Zealand Planning Institute® / Te Kokiringa Taumata is the premier provider of learning, support, knowledge and advocacy for planning professionals within New Zealand”


The goals of the Institute shall be to:

(a) Serve our members Facilitate one voice, one institute

(b) Enhance professional development within the planning profession

(c) Foster the highest standards of professionalism and professional ethics

(d) Contribute proactively to the national policy landscape

(e) Ensure high quality planning education through the accreditation of planning courses


In pursuing these goals the objectives of the Institute shall be:

(a) To provide practical benefits to our members in terms of learning, knowledge and resources

(b) To be the premier organisation representing planning and the planning profession

(c) To foster the recognition of planning as the lead profession for producing positive community outcomes

(d) To make valued contributions to policy, legislation and regulation at the regional and national levels

(e) To foster the highest standards of ethics and practice within the planning profession

(f) To be efficient and effective in all that we do

(g) To support the strategic goals of young planners