Being a Sponsor

All Candidate members seeking eligibility for entry into Full Membership as Registered Professional Planners are required to meet the practical work experience requirement, and demonstrate a minimum number of years of appropriate professional work experience in planning. A Sponsor plays a key role in this part of the professional certification process.

The role of the Sponsor is to review and ultimately confirm (‘sign-off’ or validate), a Candidate member’s practical work experience as having met the requirements set by the profession, prior to the final submission of that documented experience to the Professional Standards Board (PSB).  Sponsorship complements the work the Candidate member undertakes with his/her Mentor – for more information on this, please click here.

Who Can Be a Sponsor?

The Sponsor must be a Full Member of the Institute (RPP or equivalent) in good standing who has more than three years’ experience as such. The Sponsor’s role is somewhat at ‘arms length’ from the Candidate member, and therefore s/he must also be an individual who does not have any direct conflict of interest with the Candidate member, such as:

  • Being a direct supervisor, subordinate or close work colleague of the Candidate member
  • Being in any personal or business conflict of interest with the Candidate member

If you work in the same office as a Candidate, but have neither direct day-to-day contact with him/her nor a personal relationship, you may still be eligible to be a Sponsor.

What Is Involved In Being a Sponsor?

The Sponsor must agree to the Candidate member’s request to serve as his/her Sponsor, and should be provided with the Guide for Candidate Members & Sponsors upon agreeing to serve as a Sponsor. Sponsors should carefully review and familiarize themselves with the Guide, and use it for reference as they undertake their role. Sponsors are further strongly encouraged to take the simple Sponsor orientation, available here.

Your primary responsibility as a Sponsor is to verify and validate the Candidate member’s responsible professional planning experience.  This means work undertaken by the Candidate:

  • comprising analysis, projection, 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;
  • which shows a specific relationship to public policies or programs for controlling or influencing the development of communities;
  • which comprises a substantive component of initiative, judgment, substantial involvement and personal accountability or definition or preparation of significant elements of the program of work.

Candidates have three routes of entry to their candidacy, and each has a different requirement for responsible professional planning experience:

  • Accredited Degree Route:  the Candidate member will have a degree in a degree program accredited by the Canadian Institute of Planners, and will be working in planning when s/he enters PSB’s process.  Such a person will need to achieve the equivalent of two years of responsible professional planning experience.
  • Reciprocal Professional Membership Route:  the Candidate member will have achieved full professional membership in an organization with which the Canadian Institute of Planners has a reciprocal agreement – currently, these are the American Institute of Certified Planners (US), the Royal Town Planning Institute (UK) and the Planning Institute of Australia (Australia).  Such a person will need to achieve the equivalent of one year of responsible professional planning experience.
  • Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Route:  the Candidate Member will have a degree that is not recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners, and will have at least five years’ responsible professional experience in planning when s/he enters PSB’s process.  Such a person will need to achieve the equivalent of one additional year of responsible professional planning experience. 

Since the experience with which you are concerned must meet the above definition for ‘responsibility’, and because not all aspects of a planner’s job do so, you should be aware that it will normally take longer than the time indicated for the Candidate member to achieve the necessary amount of experience.  For instance, if only half of a Candidate member’s work can be considered ‘responsible’, it will take him/her twice as long as indicated (two years instead of one, or four years instead of two) to accumulate the necessary amount of experience.  You should meet with your Candidate at least once in each year (and ideally every six months) to review his/her record of work experience, and to provide feedback to him/her on whether it meets the above-outlined criteria.

Concluding the Sponsorship

The sponsorship relationship is over when you are fully satisfied that the Candidate member’s Record of Practical Work Experience indicates that:

  • S/he has achieved the requisite amount of responsible professional planning experience
  • His/her work has demonstrated that s/he has acquired and used the professional competencies, although the Candidate is not expected to demonstrate work experience in every competency area
  • s/he has progressed in their level of personal responsibility over the period of employment reflected in the Record
  • s/he has demonstrated a broad range of planning experience
  • s/he has generated original planning documentation and policy development

You must be satisfied not only that the Candidate actually undertook the work described in the Record, but that the reported work constitutes an acceptable responsible professional planning experience.  To do so, you may discuss the record with the Candidate member (we encourage this in any case) or contact his/her immediate superior/supervisor.

Once you agree that the Candidate’s work experience meets the criteria, you will be asked to sign off on his/her Record of Practical Work Experience.  S/he will then submit it to us.

Please note that most Affiliates will allow CPL credits for sponsorship activities.


If you have any questions about mentorship, please contact the Executive Director at the PSB office.