Overview of Entry Routes to Certification

There are three routes to obtaining certification in planning.  The following information will assist you in understanding those routes and the requirements for each.

Accredited Planning Degree Route:

The preferred, normal route to membership is through successful completion of a university degree in planning from a program formally accredited by the planning profession.  The specific membership requirements for admission to PSB’s process and Candidate membership under this route require an individual planner to:

  • Be employed in planning (for information on what constitutes employment in planning, please see our FAQ), and
  • Hold a university degree in planning from a planning program accredited by the Canadian Institute of Planners, the American Planning Accreditation Board or the Planning Institute of Australia (whose accreditations CIP recognizes)

Individuals seeking admission to our process and Candidate membership under this route must demonstrate they meet the requirements through an application and assessment process with PSB.

To apply with an accredited degree, please download and complete the interactive application form [Français].

Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) Route:

This alternate route is available for planners who hold any academic degree other than a university degree in planning from a program formally accredited by the planning profession.

The specific membership requirements for admission under this route require an individual planner to:

  • Be employed in planning (for information on what constitutes employment in planning, please see our FAQ),
  • Hold a university degree (other than a degree in planning from an accredited program),
  • Have achieved and demonstrated the equivalent of at least five years of responsible professional planning experience gained through employment in planning, and
  • Have successfully completed the PLAR process, demonstrating the basic standards of competency and knowledge.

Individuals seeking admission to Candidate membership under this route must demonstrate, through an application and PLAR assessment process with PSB, basic standards of competency and knowledge, and achieve credit toward certification based on a combination of past experience, professional development, and education.

Under this route, the PLAR process involves the applicant:

  • Documenting and demonstrating that they have a minimum of five years of responsible professional planning experience,
  • Successfully demonstrating appropriate equivalencies to the competency standards through presentation of a PLAR Portfolio. This will include a listing of post-secondary and other qualifications (e.g. university degrees and professional qualifications, matching academic courses and / or work experiences to the required competencies) and completion of the self-assessment form.

A separate PLAR Portfolio Development Guide outlining the details and requirements of the PLAR process is available to applicants seeking Candidate membership through the PLAR route, and should be reviewed carefully.  Please contact Maddy Marchildon by e-mail (executivedirector@psb-planningcanada.ca) or telephone (647-317-6924 or toll-free 1-844-202-9002) for further information.

To apply for a PLAR assessment, please download and complete the interactive PLAR assessment application [Français].

Reciprocal Professional Membership Route (for Foreign Professionals):

This specific route is available for certain planners who hold professional membership in and are already fully professionally certified by a foreign professional planning organization with which the profession in Canada maintains a formal reciprocal membership agreement. While this route does not permit transfer of membership from those organizations, it does provide an expedited process for such qualified individuals to become certified in Canada.

The specific membership requirements for admission as a Candidate member under this route require an individual planner to:

  • Be employed in planning (for information on what constitutes employment in planning, please see our FAQ),
  • Hold full, professional certified membership (or equivalent) in a foreign professional planning organization with which the profession in Canada maintains a formal reciprocal membership agreement*.

*NOTE:  The planning profession currently maintains formal reciprocal membership agreements with: the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) in the United States, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in the United Kingdom, and the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) in Australia. Individuals considering applying for membership under this route are encouraged to confirm the current status of such reciprocal agreements as may apply in their particular case.

Planners who hold membership or are professionally certified by a foreign professional planning organization with which the profession in Canada does not maintain a formal reciprocal membership agreement would seek admission under the Prior Learning Assessment (PLAR) route outlined previously.

To apply with a credential from an international planning institute with which the profession has a reciprocal agreement, please download and complete the interactive Reciprocal Agreement application [Français].

If you have any questions as to which route is most suited to you, please contact Kelley Morgan by e-mail (certification@psb-planningcanada.ca) or by phone at 647-317-6924 or toll-free at 1-844-202-9002.