Certification - Overview

How do I become a Registered Professional Planner? Click here to learn more.

First Steps – Candidate Membership

Embarking on the process of joining the planning profession and seeking professional certification is a significant step for a planner, and one that will ultimately lead to an enhanced, stronger, and richer planning career. This section outlines the first steps for an individual planner beginning the professional certification process.

Candidate Membership: Routes & Requirements:

Candidate membership is the first stage and the first category of membership for planners beginning the certification process. All planners seeking professional certification must first become a Candidate member. Please note that Candidate membership is granted by your Provincial or Territorial Institute or Association (PTIA), and not by the Professional Standards Board (PSB). Please note that while national standards have been adopted, some PTIA’s may have higher standards. Members are encouraged to consult their PTIA regarding any additional certification requirements before beginning the certification process.  This section outlines the different routes and requirements to qualify for Candidate membership.

There are three routes by which a planner can become a Candidate member of the profession (depending on individual situations and backgrounds), each with its own set of specific requirements, but all of which are based on the same key minimum standards and core competencies established by the profession.

Potential applicants can review this information to determine if they are ready and able to begin the professional certification process by becoming eligible for admission as a Candidate member, and, if so, which route would be applicable in their case. It is important to note that in all cases an individual must first be employed in planning at the time they apply for membership. In addition, it is very strongly recommended and preferred that individuals seek out and identify a professional Mentor and Sponsor at the time they apply for membership (see subsequent sections for more information about the role of the Mentor and the Sponsor).

The three routes to Candidate membership are:

For an overview of the various entry routes, please click here.

Mentors and Sponsors

Your Mentor and Sponsor are a critical part of your certification process.  Ideally, you will have identified both a Mentor and a Sponsor at the time you submit your application to us, but you have up to 90 days from that time to find them.  Mentorship is a new requirement resulting from the Planning for the Future process CIP initiated in 2006, while sponsorship (having your Record of Practical Work Experience signed off on by an experienced planner) has long been required.

Who can be a Mentor or Sponsor? 




Experience as an RPP

Must be a full (certified) member of a Provincial /Territorial Institute or Association (PTIA) /RPP (or LPP, etc.) in good standing for at least 3 years

Must be a full (certified) member of a Provincial /Territorial Institute or Association (PTIA) /RPP (or LPP, etc.) in good standing for at least 3 years

Work Relationship

Ideally, your Mentor is a close work colleague

Your Sponsor cannot be a close work colleague (someone you work directly for or with, or who works directly for you) and should also not be in a close personal relationship with you

Geographic Issues

Because you meet with your Mentor regularly, it is helpful for him/her to be geographically close to you.  If this is not possible, you may, however, “meet” electronically (IM, Skype, etc.)

Not relevant

Please note that you cannot have the same person filling both roles.  In addition, your Mentor and Sponsor must currently be members in good standing at the time of your application and during the mentorship/sponsorship process

Further information can be found on our pages about mentorship and sponsorship.  Both your Mentor and Sponsor should review the respective Guides and orientation materials, and both must sign an agreement with you.  At the end of the mentorship or sponsorship, each will sign the appropriate record once they have satisfied themselves you have achieved the mentorship/sponsorship objectives.  All of these forms are available on the applicable pages of our website as linked in the first sentence of this paragraph.

It is your responsibility to find your Mentor and Sponsor; normally, your Provincial/Territorial Institute or Association (PTIA) cannot assist you in this.  PSB, however, is working to develop a list of people willing to serve in either capacity; check the website often for an update.

Note on International Degrees:

A person with one or more international degrees  who does not qualify to apply under the Reciprocal Agreement route may apply via the PLAR route and should provide an evaluation of those degrees from a recognized international credential evaluation service such as:

Note on Membership and Assessment

In order to begin your work towards your professional planning credential, you must be a Candidate Member of one of the PTIAs (see below for a list of PTIA websites). While we will review your application for assessment, the fees you pay the Professional Standards Board (PSB) only cover the assessment process; membership in your PTIA requires an additional annual fee, and you are unable to proceed with PSB’s process until you have become a member and we have verified this fact.  If you are applying with an accredited degree or under a reciprocal agreement with another planning institute, we will automatically forward your information to the appropriate PTIA, and they will be in touch with you regarding your Candidate Membership.  If you are applying via the PLAR route and do not yet have five years’ experience, we will again automatically forward your information to the appropriate PTIA who will contact you regarding a suitable membership (some PTIAs offer Pre-Candidate Membership for individuals in this situation).

Assessment and Other Fees

There is a fee for assessment of your application, as well as for the Ethics & Professionalism course and test and the Professional Examination.  These are in addition to the membership fees payable to your PTIA.  Our fee structure is:


Accredited Degree Applicants

Reciprocal Agreement Applicants

PLAR Applicants

Application fee




Ethics & Professionalism Course




Professional Exam





Please note that l'Ordre des Urbanistes de Québec (OUQ) does not participate in PSB's processes at this time; if you are in Québec, you will need to contact OUQ directly (their website is www.ouq.qc.ca/).

Canadian Institute of Planners/Institut canadien des urbanistes

Atlantic Planning Institute/Institut des urbanistes de l’Atlantique (NL, NS, NB, PE)

Ontario Professional Planners Institute/Institut des planificateurs
professionnels de l’Ontario (ON)

Manitoba Professional Planners Institute

SPPI - Saskatchewan Professional Planners Institute

Alberta Professional Planners Institute (AB, NT & NU)

Planning Institute of British Columbia (BC & YT)

Certification Process

Once your assessment has been completed and you are a Candidate member of your PTIA, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Take the Ethics & Professionalism course and test (the test requires a grade of 70% to pass)
  • Complete at least a one-year mentorship
  • Complete the requisite professional planning experience (this will vary depending upon your entry route, and must be attested by your sponsor)
  • Take the Professional Examination (sittings twice annually, in the spring and fall; the Examination requires a grade of 80% to pass)

Candidates have up to seven (7) years from the year in which they become Candidate members to complete PSB's certification process (as outlined above). Included in the seven (7) years is attempting the Professional Examination. Once those steps have been completed, we will forward all your information to your PTIA, who will then consider your certification.