Frequently Asked Questions

How does Planning in Ontario Work ?


Professional planners are very familiar with the legislation which has been put in place by government bodies to guide land use and development.  These policies are put into effect by all levels of government in Canada.  In Ontario the main legislation governing land use and development is The Planning Act 1990.  The legislation contained in the Planning Act is implemented through the Provincial Policy Statement (March 2005). There are a number of other laws which directly influence planning in the Province including The Places to Grow Act 2005, The Oak Ridges Moraine Protection Act 2001, The Greenbelt Act 2005, The Ontario Municipal Board Act 1990 and the Ontario Planning and Development Act, 1994, as amended)

The decisions made by local municipalities/approval authorities must be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).  When reviewing applications, the municipality must consider many complex land use issues covered by the PPS, while at the same time reflecting the local flavour, character and needs of the community.


What is a Planner ?


The first Canadian planners were known as “town and country planners,” and played an integral role in the development of this nation. Today, planners continue to apply their expertise and skills in all areas of urban and rural community development, urban design, environment, transportation, health and social services, housing, and economic development.  Planners may start out as geographers, ecologists, economists, urban designers, or political scientists. Origins may vary but there are common threads, including an ability to research, to analyze, to understand implications, and to write about what we have learned.

Planners must understand complex social, legal and economic issues. They convene meetings to canvass public opinion on planning matters. They work with other professionals such as engineers, hydrologists, lawyers, and architects. Planners analyze information from many sources and write reports that advise politicians and other decision-makers.  And for many planners, there is an underlying sense of purpose and of civic responsibility. We strive to seek the common good and to leave our communities a little better than we found them.


What is Planning ?

The Ontario Professional Planners Act describes planning as “The scientific, aesthetic and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services, with a view to securing physical, economic and social efficiency, a sound environment, health and well-being.” (source: OPPI Act, 1994).

Look around you and you will see the many facets of your life that are touched by planning – the revitalization of downtown areas, the preservation or re-use of heritage buildings, and the development of communities outside areas at risk of flooding all result from planners who work to implement public land use policies.


What does MCIP and RPP stand for ?


MCIP stands for “member of the Canadian Institute of Planners”. The Canadian Institute of Planners is the professional institute that represents over 7,000 professional planners across Canada

RPP stands for “Registered Professional Planner”. This is the title given to planners that are full members of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, a professional organization that is responsible for creating the codes and standards that planners in Ontario must abide by. Planners receive the RPP designation upon accumulating planning field work experience and passing a final examination.


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