History of CIP

The history of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) begins with the organization of the Town Planning Institute of Canada (TPIC) in 1919. On May 31 that year, 18 founding members held an inaugural meeting of the Institute at Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier Hotel, where Thomas Adams was elected as the first President. Adams was the pre-eminent planner of the time, and had been the first president of the Town Planning Institute in the United Kingdom (now the Royal Town Planning Institute). A federal charter (letters patent) for the TPIC was granted on October 23, 1923.

The primary focus of the TPIC was to promote the new discipline of planning to a young Dominion experiencing reckless post-war growth. The bi-monthly Town Planning Journal was established in 1920, under the editorship of Alfred Buckley, to record the stirring speeches and publish exemplary plans that would inspire civic leaders to engage in planning at a time when there was little statutory requirement to do so.

Adams and his Canadian colleagues also had to organize a professional body from scratch. Individuals who had some knowledge of planning and who were members of related professions such as engineering, surveying and architecture were welcome. Membership in the Institute grew rapidly throughout the 1920s — to 130 members by 1922, and 367 members by 1930.

During the Depression, when no growth meant no planning, the Department of the Interior was forced to withdraw its financial support for the journal (in 1932), and the Institute suspended operations. The TPIC charter was maintained and renewed annually by the secretary, John Kitchen.

It took another post-war boom and the support of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation to create sufficient demand for planning to allow the Town Planning Institute of Canada to be revived in 1952, under President A. Cousineau, and with a membership that of now only 60 people.  At that time, many Canadian planners did not have formal training, and most qualified planners were foreign-trained.  In 1953, the Institute granted formal recognition to planning education programs at McGill University, University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, and University of British Columbia.  Membership grew quickly, to about 500 members by 1960, then up to 800 by 1970. The journal resumed publishing in 1959, with the bilingual title: “Plan Canada”.

Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Institute was run entirely by volunteers with Hugh Lemon as secretary coordinating from Toronto. The National Council's energy was absorbed in establishing a solid organization and raising membership standards. Local city-based chapters of the Institute sprung up and evolved into regional or provincial chapters. Quebec was the first province to recognize the planning profession in reserved title legislation as the Corporation des urbanistes du Québec in 1963 (now the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec).

The early 1970s was a time of significant organizational change. A national office with staff was established in Ottawa in 1970.  A federated national/chapter structure was formalized with new by-laws in 1972-73. And, with the rise of regional and other forms of planning, the organization’s name was officially amended in its charter to the Canadian Institute of Planners in 1974. Membership tripled to 2, 400 by 1980, and several more university degrees were recognized during the decade.

From the mid-1980s onward, the Institute moved forward on consolidating a federated structure and expanding into broader areas of professional operations. In 1986, the by-laws were revised, with the Affiliates (formerly “chapters”) being recognized as equal partners.  They assumed the majority of direct membership services, allowing the national institute and its office to function with only two staff.  This was also the year the Ontario Professional Planners Institute was formed, from the amalgamation of four separate Ontario chapters.

In 1992, responsibility for CIP’s journal, Plan Canada, was transferred to a professional publisher. Around the same time, the position of Secretary evolved into an Executive Director function, initially filled by a CIP member and, by 1993, a professional association executive. As time went on, national office staff began to grow and increase its French-language service capability, as CIP continued to evolve and enhance its programs, products, services and activities.

Through the 1990s CIP continued to evolve and better define its role in context with that of the Affiliates. Together, CIP and the Affiliates built the foundations of a federated partnership. Since the year 2000, CIP has vastly formalized agreements with the Affiliates, further defining how this federation should work. CIP continued to expand its outreach through national and international initiatives.

Reciprocity with the American Planning Association, the Royal Town Planning Institute in the United Kingdom, and the Planning Institute of Australia, has enabled planners to carry their planning experience to other countries. And relations with these institutes and others led to the formation, in 2006, of the Global Planners Network.

Today, CIP has over 7, 500 members across Canada and some from many different regions of the world. The Institute recognizes 28 university planning programs — 9 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. CIP is now engaged in professional activities throughout Canada and internationally, with a growing strategic focus on topics that will advance planning practice or that impact the profession.

general@cip-icu.ca 1-800-207-2138
613-237-PLAN (7526)