PSB Frequently Asked Questions
On this page, we have tried to respond to frequently asked questions about our certification process. We will add to this information as new questions come up. If you have a question that you would like to see answered on this page, please contact Maddy Marchildon (by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 647-317-6924 or toll-free 1-844-202-9002).
Application for Assessment
Q. What information do I need to provide so my application for assessment can be processed?
A. The information required for each entry route is listed in the application for assessment for that route. This is a quick overview:
All prospective candidates must provide:
- The completed application for assessment including, if you have already made arrangements, the names of your Sponsor and Mentor
- Payment of the assessment fee by Visa, MasterCard or cheque
All prospective candidates should arrange to have sent to PSB, directly from the appropriate person or organization:
- Letter from your employer, confirming your employment information
- Job description
- Official transcripts for any degrees you wish us to consider – these must be original hard copies, stamped with the seal of the granting institution; photocopies or electronic copies are not acceptable
- If you want us to consider foreign credentials, a foreign credential evaluation report by an organization such as the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) or the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) – these must be original hard copies; photocopies or electronic copies are not acceptable
If you are a full (credentialed or certified) member of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) or the American Institute of Certified Planners and are applying through the Reciprocal Professional Membership route, please arrange to have that organization send us confirmation of your membership and credential/certification in hard copy format.
All Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) prospective candidates should also include their PLAR Portfolio (in Microsoft Word and/or Adobe Acrobat PDF files), consisting of:
- Cover letter
- Completed self-assessment grid and supporting evidence
- Resume to support 5 years of professional planning experience
- Additional supporting documentation you would like us to consider
Q. I don’t have a degree; can I still apply?
A. All the entry routes published and administered by PSB require at least an undergraduate degree, similar to the accounting profession. While a degree in planning or a related discipline may be beneficial to you in your career path, the drafters of PSB’s standards recognized that the attainment of any degree indicates you have met an important test for academic rigour.
Q. What constitutes "employment in planning"?
A. As a general rule, we consider planning to be "the scientific, aesthetic and orderly disposition of land, resources, facilities and services with a view to securing the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities". If your job has a significant component relating to that definition, we regard you as being "employed in planning". If you have specific questions or concerns about whether your job meets this criterion, please send an email to email@example.com for further information
Q. How long does the assessment process take?
A. It depends on your route of entry and how quickly we receive the necessary documents from third parties. Accredited Degree applications are usually processed in 2 to 3 weeks; Reciprocal Agreement applications may take 4 to 6 weeks; and PLAR applications may take 3 to 6 months. If you have both an accredited degree and membership in a body with which the PSB has a reciprocal agreement, we can process your application faster if you select the Accredited Degree route, but be aware that the work experience requirement is higher for Accredited Degree applicants (two years versus one year), so what you gain in quicker front-end processing can be more than compensated for in the time required to log your qualifying responsible professional planning experience.
Q. What should be included in the employment letter?
A. The employment letter confirms your employer’s company/organizational name, your job title, the general nature of your responsibilities, the length of time you have held your current position, and your supervisor’s name. If you have been promoted or moved to a different position at your current employer within the last year, it would be useful to have that information and a list of other positions you have held with your employer noted in the letter as well.
Q. Do I need to give PSB the names of my Mentor and Sponsor at the time I apply?
A. We would prefer that you provide this information with your application, but we recognize this is not always possible. However, you must arrange for a Mentor and Sponsor within 90 days of your application in order to proceed through PSB’s processes.
Q. Can my Mentor and Sponsor be the same person?
A. No. Your Mentor and Sponsor must be two different individuals. Under the standard which PSB administers, your Mentor will ideally work with you so s/he can better observe your growth as a planner. The role of a Sponsor is different, and s/he cannot be closely associated with you. From a practical perspective, each role requires a significant commitment by a volunteer, and it is somewhat difficult for one person to fulfill both.
Q. I see I have to be a member of my Provincial/Territorial Institute or Affiliate (PTIA). How does this happen?
A. Once your assessment has been completed by PSB and we have determined that you meet the criteria for your particular entry route, we will transfer your information to your PTIA with a recommendation that you be accepted for membership. They will contact you in this regard.
Q. I do not currently live in Canada. Can I still register for PSB’s process?
A. International applicants are eligible for PSB’s process. You must select a PTIA with which you wish to be associated, and indicate that on your application. Please note that some PTIAs require that their members live in their geographic area; you should contact the individual PTIA first, to determine whether this requirement exists.
Q. What are PSB’s fees?
A. PSB fees are applicable as follows:
Accredited Degree Applicants Reciprocal Agreement Applicants PLAR Applicants Application fee 375.00 375.00 750.00 Ethics & Professionalism Course 595.00 595.00 595.00 Professional Exam 500.00 500.00 500.00
All fees are subject to GST/HST (not included in the above table). In addition to the above, you must maintain Candidate membership in your PTIA; please contact them for information on this fee, as it is not included in PSB’s fee schedule.
Q. Once my application has been accepted, what is required for me to progress to certification?
A. All Candidate members must fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete the Ethics & Professionalism course and pass the test
- Complete at least one year of Mentorship
- Complete the necessary period of Sponsorship (the equivalent of two years for Accredited Degree applicants and one year for Reciprocal Agreement and PLAR applicants)
- Pass the Professional Examination (this is the final step in the process, and you must have successfully completed the others before being eligible to write this examination)
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.
Q. Under the "old" system, I would have been able to submit a portfolio of planning experience and skip the examination. Is this still an option?
A. Under the standard being administered by PSB, all Candidates must take both the Ethics & Professionalism test and the Professional Examination – there are no exceptions.
Q. What is required for "qualifying responsible professional planning experience"?
A. Qualifying responsible professional planning experience is experience that:
- Comprises analysis, projections, design or program development which specifically requires consideration of the inter-relationships of space and time among resources, facilities and activities, and which expresses this consideration in a manner to influence the deposition of land or the allocation of resources, facilities or services;
- Shows a specific relationship to public policies or programs for controlling or influencing the development of communities; and
- Comprises a substantive component of initiative, judgment, substantial involvement and personal accountability or definition or preparation of significant elements of the program of work.
This type of experience demonstrates that you understand and apply the core planning competencies. Your Sponsor will evaluate your experience to determine whether it fits this description. Because any job consists of elements that do not necessarily relate to these core competencies, it may take longer than one or two calendar years to accumulate sufficient experience to meet the requirements of your particular entry route.
Q. Can I back-log my experience? I’ve been working at a responsible level in a planning position for quite some time now.
A. Only applicants entering PSB’s process through the Accredited Degree route are allowed to back-log experience. Your Sponsor must also agree, and must be able to verify the experience and be willing to validate (sign off on) it. Candidates entering through the Accredited Degree route must log the equivalent of two years of responsible professional planning experience (of which one year can be backlogged). Applicants coming through the Accredited Degree Route, PLAR or Reciprocal Agreement routes are required to log the equivalent of one year of experience gained after approval of the application for assessment and the granting of Candidate membership by your PTIA.
Q. Can I back-log my mentorship?
A. Unfortunately, back-logging of mentorship is not permitted. Mentorship is a formal relationship between the Candidate member and his/her Mentor during which the Mentor observes the Candidate’s growth as a planner. While the competencies are important in mentorship, the Mentor also looks to see that the Candidate understands and can apply the Code of Professional Conduct, and is maturing and becoming better-rounded as a planner.
Q. I noticed there is a log book on the website to record my work experience. Is there also a mentorship log?
A. The Record of Mentorship (mentorship log) is available at www.psb-planningcanada.ca/CERTIFICATION/mentorship.php for download. Please scroll to the bottom of the page.
Q. Can my mentorship and sponsorship occur at the same time?
A. Absolutely, yes. This will assist you in completing PSB’s process quicker than undertaking them in sequence.
Q. I would prefer to do my mentorship and sponsorship at different times. Which should I do first?
A. That is entirely up to you. If your job does not yet involve a major component of responsible professional planning experience, you may prefer to begin your mentorship first. On the other hand, if your job does have such a major component, you might wish to do your sponsorship first.
Q. Can I switch my mentor or sponsor?
A. If you are unable to fully complete your mentorship component with the mentor you identified during the application process, you may complete the remaining number of required meetings with another mentor, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. Simply inform the PSB by submitting a new mentorship agreement form (found on our Mentorship page). You may submit mentor logs from two mentors, as long as the PSB also has two mentorship agreements on file and both mentors have signed separate Record of Mentorship forms for the portion of mentorship meetings you have logged with them. This also applies to changes in sponsors (two sponsorship agreements and two Log Book Validation forms are required in this case).
Q. I have successfully completed PSB’s processes. How do I become certified?
A. Once you have completed all the steps and requirements for professional certification, based on PSB’s assessment of all material you have submitted, we will report on that assessment and make a recommendation to your PTIA. The PTIA will then move forward with the process to admit you formally to full (certified) membership and Registered Professional Planner (RPP) status.
Please note that completion of the PSB assessment process does not automatically grant full membership. Formal admission to full membership is the prerogative of the PTIA following our assessment process.