Log Book Guidelines & FAQs

The following section highlights some key tips and guidelines for individuals as they prepare and complete entries for their log book. It addresses key issues, and many of the frequently asked questions related to the log book:

What is ‘Responsible Professional Planning Experience’?

To answer this question you need to understand the Institute's definition of two key terms, 'planning' and 'responsible professional planning experience'.

'Planning' means the planning of 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.

'Responsible Professional Planning Experience' means:

  • Work 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 disposition of land or the allocation of resources, facilities or services;
  • Work which shows a specific relationship to public policies or programs for controlling or influencing the development of communities;
  • Work which comprises a substantive component of initiative, judgement, substantial involvement and personal accountability or definition or preparation of significant elements of the programs of work; and
  • Work which is undertaken in Canada and any country that has formal reciprocity agreement with the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP).

The Institute interprets as valid experience all profession work time spent as follows:

  • The preparation of comprehensive community, regional, resource, strategic and related plans or major sections of plans;
  • Directing the work of others in the preparation of such plans;
  • Establishing the foundation and framework for planning as in the preparation of planning legislation or in the conduct of basic planning research;
  • Directing the legal or administrative work in making, interpreting or enforcing plans; and
  • Other positions of comparable responsibility or requiring comparable planning skill such as a planning director, a planning consultant, a member of a planning or policy staff in direct charge of significant planning work, professors of planning in a recognized school of planning.

In summary, the description of experience should answer four essential questions:

  • Is the Institute's definition of planning able to be seen?
  • Are (any of) the recognized "substantive elements" of the planning function clearly expressed?
  • Is the level of responsibility shown?
  • Is "public interest" addressed?

Is All Planning Experience Valid, and If Not How is it Counted?

No, not all planning experience is necessarily considered valid ‘responsible professional planning experience’. Often very junior level work, co-op or student employment work, or ancillary administrative work, or some work deemed outside of planning, may not be counted as valid 'responsible professional planning experience’ for the purposes of the Institute’s membership requirements.

Therefore a Candidate member may have to work in planning for a longer period of time than just the minimum number of years or months required in order to accumulate enough valid, responsible professional planning experience to meet those required.

In cases where a portion of the work is considered valid, and a portion is not, the member is given pro-rated credit for the portion that is considered valid. For example: if half of the work in a particular position over two years is considered valid, while half is not, the member can be credited with the equivalent of one year of valid responsible professional planning experience.

Note: Any decision to not count particular work experience as valid responsible professional planning experience is not a reflection or judgement on the quality of the work, or the overall benefit of the experience to the member, but strictly a clear application of the specific Certified Membership requirements by the Institute.

I’m Self-Employed, How do I get a Supervisor’s Signature?

Self employed individuals should seek the signature of a client(s), or client’s representative(s) who can sign and verify the work being described in the log book entry. Alternately, if a member, in the course of their work, worked directly alongside or with another planner or other colleague who is familiar with the work performed, that individual can serve as the supervisor and sign accordingly.

How do I Secure a Sponsoring Certified Member?

It is the responsibility of the applicant member to seek out and secure their sponsoring Certified Member. It is advisable to first consider approaching a Certified Member who is: a supervisor, direct colleague, or mentor, to fulfill this role. If the applicant does not directly know a Certified Member, they should make efforts to reach out to, and connect with Certified Members in the profession – either through personal recommendations, networking, etc. It is up to individual Certified Members whether or not they choose to sponsor an individual applicant.

How Long Should My Log Book Entries Be?

The exact length of any individual log book entry will vary based on the individual, the position or work being described, and the duration. Applicants should be succinct, but be sure to provide enough information to clearly, and accurately explain the work being described, and how it meets the requirements for responsible professional planning experience. Applicants are encouraged to review the various log book samples provided by the Institute for guidance.

Some of My Planning Experience Was Achieved Out of Canada, Can I Log This Experience?

Applicants can log experience achieved outside of Canada, however, such log book entries must still have the appropriate information, and signatures from a supervisor and sponsoring Candidate Member. In addition, it should be noted that the membership criteria require that all applicants for Certified Membership must have a minimum of two years of Canadian planning experience. If not, such applicants will be required to write an additional special exam question on the Canadian planning system.

For more information in this section, please follow the links below: