CPL Frequently Asked Questions
Below are specific frequently asked questions and answers related to the PIBC CPL System and reporting requirements. Click on any question below to open up the appropriate answer and information.
Helpful Quick Links for CPL Program & Reporting Information
- Click here to access the About the CPL Program page for detailed information about the CPL program
- Click here to visit the Latest CPL Updates page for key current CPL information and updates
- Click here for CPL Reporting information
- Click here for a copy of the complete PIBC CPL System Guide
For technical online issues, you can send us your CPL reporting information (such as who hosted the event, the title of the event, when and where details, etc.) in an Excel spread sheet and email to firstname.lastname@example.org, if needed.
Click here to read Top Ten CPL Reporting Mistakes to Avoid originally published as a guide for members in Planning West magazine.
To obtain learning unit (LU) credit for professional learning activities and meet the requirements of the CPL system, members must login online and self-report their activity details and applicable LUs to PIBC each calendar year. Members are strongly encouraged to report their CPL activities and LUs throughout the year as each activity is completed to ensure timely, accurate reporting and to avoid any reporting backlog at the end of each year. For detailed CPL reporting information, visit the CPL Reporting Information page.
How to report live webinars or recordings:
Everything can be reported only once and not in any other reporting year. Otherwise it counts as double reported and would be removed.
Live webinars: count for the year as the day the live event happens, they can’t be reported backwards.
a) if the recording was watched in the same year as the live event: use the live event date.
b) if the recording was watched in the next or following years: use December 31 of the reporting year or any other date for the current reporting year to count for the correct year.
All members required to report CPL activities are reminded that the minimum requirements for each reporting period (calendar year) are as follows:
- A total minimum of 18.0 learning units of CPL activities
- A minimum of 9.0 Organized & Structured Learning Units of CPL activities
- A maximum of up to 9.0 Independent & Self-Directed learning units of CPL activities
Organized and structured activities include any formally structured courses, meetings, seminars, lectures, presentations, workshops sessions, or similar activities that are either provided by PIBC and its local Chapters or organized and provided by another external third-party.
Such third-party activities may or may not be endorsed in advance by PIBC – they need not be to count for CPL credit. These would include organized forms of distance education, organized and structured online learning activities, and more.
Formal, structured mentorship or sponsorship of a Candidate member seeking professional certification can also count for credit for the mentoring/sponsoring Certified member.
Independent and self-directed activities are activities that are generally not organized, structured activities, and are largely independently pursued by members. They are not normally endorsed in advance by PIBC, though guidelines for the assignment of applicable Learning Units (LUs) for some such activities are provided. To be eligible for credit, independent and self-directed activities must be in some way purposeful, must be educational and yield new planning or professional knowledge for the individual member, and be relevant and applicable to the individual members’ practice of planning.
These are self-directed learning activities in which members independently engage. Activities in this realm can often provide support to the profession or civil society, as well as providing education to members. Examples are civic or professional committees (including the PIBC Board, committees, local chapters, or task forces, etc.). Additional volunteer activities that could count for credit might include teaching outside of normal professional work duties, independent research or self-designed learning experiences (such as self-guided tours, field study, etc.). Activities associated with members’ day-to-day compensated employment responsibilities as a professional planner would not be acceptable for credit as valid CPL.
Regular, active volunteer participation in a relevant civic and/or professional committee or other relevant volunteer role (such as informal mentoring of students or others) may earn a planner up to 3.0 Learning Units per particular committee or volunteer role per year, to the collective maximum of 9.0 allowable independent & self-directed LUs per year.
Additionally, critically reading and reviewing relevant articles and publications which further knowledge & encourage self-reflection or informal sharing of knowledge, or other self-directed individual learning (such as self-guided tours, relevant independent research, etc.) can also qualify for independent and self-directed LUs.
Continuous professional learning (CPL) credits for activities undertaken are recorded and reported as numeric Learning Units (LUs). For most straightforward formal or structured learning activities, one learning unit LU is normally equivalent to one full hour (60 minutes) of active engagement in appropriate/acceptable professional learning activity.
Members calculate LUs of professional learning activities by reporting the number of hours actively spent engaged in planning-related learning (rounded to the nearest quarter hour) with a minimum of 1/2 hour or 0.5 LUs for anyone professional learning activity. For example: a one hour and twenty minute lecture would equal 1.15 LUs. Or, an eight-hour full day workshop with a one-hour lunch break and two fifteen-minute coffee breaks would equal 6.5 LUs.
In some cases (such as for some less structured/scheduled organized activities and many independent, self-directed activities) where direct allocation of LUs by time is difficult or is not appropriate, approximate equivalent LU values or guidelines will apply. Refer to the PIBC CPL System Guide for more detailed information, guidelines and examples of how to calculate and report LUs for these types of activities.
PIBC utilizes an online database to store and track all member CPL reports. Members are directed to report their CPL activities and Learning Units (LUs) online through the members-only section of the PIBC website or through the CIP national website, using the online CPL Reporting Form available there.
Members can also use this feature to check on their previous and current CPL activities as reported. All CPL activities and LUs reported are entered into the online database and are available for review. You will need your Member Login (email address & password) to access the online database.
In most cases, Google’s Chrome internet browser tends to be most compatible and user-friendly. To avoid problems with online reporting, be sure to click and accept the PIBC website cookies policy if and when prompted (it will pop up at the top of website when first visiting the site). If you encounter technical challenges trying to log in to your online member profile, try clearing your browser history or cookies and also ensure that cookies are enabled.
Key links for reporting online:
PIBC Login: https://members.pibc.bc.ca/signin
If you need to reset your password for the login, please use the "Forgot Password?" function.
If you are experiencing technical online issues, you can send us your CPL reporting information (such as who hosted the event, the title of the event, when and where details, etc.) in an Excel spread sheet and email to email@example.com.
Members’ CPL submissions and applicable Learning Units will be received and accepted in good faith with random reviews and evaluations performed by the Institute through its Professional Standards & Certification Committee annually. Members must keep accurate records and supporting documentation or information of their reported activities on hand for at least the most recent two calendar years of CPL activity to avoid any potential issues with review and verification.
The primary objective of the CPL system and requirements is to encourage all professional members’ ongoing education and professional development. Some form of required continuing professional development or education for professional practitioners is widely accepted as a minimum ‘best practice’ for most associations like PIBC.
The Institute is committed to helping members be successful in completing their CPL requirements through provision of regular offerings including the annual conference, webinars, local chapter events, publications and regular information about third-party learning activities and events. The PIBC office will work with members to address minor concerns, to determine if a member requires assistance or is subject to special circumstances affecting their ability to complete the annual CPL requirements.
However, serious or persistent non-compliance will be addressed in accordance with the Institute’s bylaws, and the policies outlined in the PIBC CPL System Guide. Penalty fees may also apply for late or incomplete reporting.
What are the requirements for newly admitted members or those who have transferred to PIBC from elsewhere?
Individuals who are admitted as new Candidate members part way through a reporting period are exempt from the requirements for that first partial year but must meet all requirements for the first full calendar year of membership after admission.
For members who transfer in to PIBC from another professional planning institute elsewhere in Canada part way through a reporting period, PIBC will coordinate with that other institute to ensure ongoing CPL and reporting requirements are met for that particular year.
In accordance with the bylaws of the Institute, members are required to undertake and report the minimum Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) required. There are, however, a few exemptions for some members in particular individual circumstances. Members are exempt from mandatory CPL reporting for the reporting year if:
- They became a newly admitted Candidate Member between January 1st - December 31st of the reporting year, or
- They were reinstated to Candidate or Certified Membership between January 1st - December 31st of the reporting year, or
- They were formally 'On Leave' from active membership with the Institute for a portion of the year between January 1st - December 31st of the reporting year, or
- They became a Retired Member between January 1st - December 31st of the reporting year, or
- They have been granted a one-time waiver for the current reporting year by PIBC due to special, extenuating individual circumstances (such waivers must be requested in writing, in advance, with supporting information and will need to be officially confirmed by the PSC Committee to be eligible).
Yes, as practicing planners, Candidate members are required to meet the same annual CPL requirements as Certified members and practicing Fellows. While previously exempt, the requirements were rolled out for Candidate members starting in 2019.
We introduced CPL Reporting to PIBC Candidate Members in 2019 to be in sync with the other Canadian Planning Affiliations, so that everywhere Candidate & Certified Members are required to report. We allowed the reporting to be just voluntary for 2020, but made enough announcements during 2020, that the reporting will be required starting in 2021.
Continuous professional learning for members who work in academic positions must be undertaken and reported in the same manner as for all other professional members, as outlined in the PIBC CPL System Guide. Activities that are part of an academic member’s day-to-day compensated work (i.e. regularly scheduled lecturing, teaching courses, academic administration etc.) may not be reported for credit. However, presentations, conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops, volunteer work and other manner of activities that are not part of an academic member’s day-to-day compensated work may be undertaken and reported for CPL credit.
I am also a member with another professional planning institute in addition to being a member of PIBC. Do I have to report CPL to them as well?
Yes. Members who are active with more than one professional planning institute that has CPL requirements must appropriately report applicable CPL to each institute with which they hold membership and must meet the applicable CPL requirements for each. They can, however report and claim credit for the same activities undertaken. For example, if a member attended a conference worth 20.0 Learning Units, they can report participation at that same conference and the applicable Learning Units to each institute to which they belong for credit (so long as it meets the specific requirements and expectations of each institute).
Members in such circumstances are strongly encouraged to keep up to date and carefully review the CPL requirements and procedures for each institute to which they belong.
No. We don't allow to report the same activity twice. You can only use a webinar recording or book reading for example, if it was not reported within one of the former reporting periods yet (year).
Yes, but with limits. Recognizing that members’ access to organized activities can sometimes vary from year to year, members may carry up to 9.0 excess Organized & Structured LUs forward for credit in the next subsequent reporting year.
Members may not carry any Independent & Self-Directed LUs forward and may not “bank” or carry forward excess Organized & Structured LUs for more than one year forward. Minimum LU requirements and maximum allowances for the current reporting year are applicable prior to any carry forward to the next subsequent year. Also, any eligible LUs will be automatically carried forward and need not be separately entered or reported again.
If a member reported 24.0 Organized & Structured LUs and 11.0 Independent & Self-Directed LUs of CPL activities for one year (35.0 total LUs), only 9.0 Organized & Structured LUs (the maximum allowable) would be carried forward to the next subsequent reporting year.
If a member reported 15.0 Organized & Structured LUs and 5.0 Independent & Self-Directed LUs of CPL activities for one year (20.0 total LUs), only 2.0 Organized & Structured LUs would be carried forward to the next subsequent reporting year.
Any number of organizations, groups and individuals may provide valid learning activities. Various providers of learning activities do not need to be pre-approved or endorsed by PIBC in order for the activities they provide to count as valid CPL. While some may be reviewed and/or endorsed in advance, it is by no means a requirement that they be.
If a member does not work in traditional ‘land-use’ planning or the CPL activities are not related to traditional ‘land-use’ planning, does this mean they will be unable to meet the 18.0 LUs required?
No. PIBC recognizes that many members do not do ‘traditional’ or typical ‘land-use’ planning work and that, as professional planners, they engage in a very wide range of planning work (and therefore undertake a very wide variety of learning activities, covering a range of topic areas — many of which may be seen as non-traditional).
The important thing to remember is that the learning activities should be reasonably relevant to the members’ day-to-day professional work as a planner. While every submission is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, members are encouraged to report all the activities they feel might be relevant and acceptable for CPL credit.
No (see the CPL Guide on page 5 - paragraph 2 left). The intent is to acquire/investigate/explore new areas of information in addition to and outside the members’ normal daily work or business or practice. This requires the members’ individual assessment of their experience, activities, and duties. There will always be new material to learn. The profession is constantly advancing and one must evolve with it.
What about special in-house professional development seminars or events? Can they qualify for CPL credit?
Yes. This applies to either ‘outside’ consultants, presenters or industry representatives brought in by the employer, workplace, or firm; or information sessions organized and delivered from within the workplace or firm’s own resources, to provide special workplace skills training, or specific professional development that is separate from normal day-to-day work activities.
Yes. Relevant volunteer work related to members’ professional planning work, including sitting on a PIBC committee or Board, serving as an examiner, mentoring or sponsoring a Candidate member undertaking certification, or other professional or community volunteer work can count and be reported as valid learning activities. Refer to the PIBC CPL System Guide for completed details on how to calculate LUs for such volunteer work.
We strongly suggest and encourage members to keep records and supporting documentation for learning activities reported for the current year plus the previous year (i.e. for the two most recent reporting periods or calendar years). Any CPL review of members’ records will be undertaken no later than the year following any self-reporting of that member’s learning activities.
Members’ CPL submissions and applicable Learning Units will be received and accepted in good faith, with random reviews and evaluations performed by the Institute through its Professional Standards & Certification Committee annually. Members must keep accurate records and supporting documentation or information of their reported activities.
Members who resigned in good standing wishing to reinstate within less than two years (24 months) of resigning can do so by completing the applicable application and paying the applicable application for reinstatement fee and would not normally be required to complete retroactive CPL reporting. Once reinstated normal ongoing CPL and reporting requirements would apply thereafter.
Members whose membership was revoked due to non-payment of annual Fees and/or non-compliance with CPL and reporting requirements wishing to reinstate within less than two years (24 months) of ceasing membership can do so by completing the applicable application and paying the applicable application for reinstatement fee, any applicable penalty fees, and would normally be required to also complete retroactive CPL reporting. Once reinstated normal ongoing CPL and reporting requirements would apply thereafter.