Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Mary Lou Tanner FCIP

Currently, as the City of Burlington’s Deputy City Manager, and previously as Chief Planner for three of the country’s fastest growing cities/regions in Ontario, Mary Lou’s planning expertise has centered on the development and implementation of plans and policies for communities within the Niagara Region and the City of Burlington. She has led several municipalities through complex and challenging planning initiatives, including the preparation of comprehensive growth management strategies and Official Plan reviews. Setting Sail: Secondary Plan for West Harbour in Hamilton, Ontario, was one of her many achievements and set a benchmark for comprehensive and integrated waterfront planning in Canada. Amongst Mary Lou’s remarkable strengths is her extraordinary ability to manage sensitive consultations and her outstanding capacity for consensus-building. This was demonstrated repeatedly through her work helping communities navigate such complex issues as intensification, urban sprawl, congestion, affordable housing, environmental protection, and economic development.
In addition to her professional practice leadership, Mary Lou has volunteered countless hours to local community volunteer social service organizations. In her workplace, she has led initiatives promoting inclusion and diversity, as well as life-long learning. As an avid supporter of young planners, she has served both by example and as a mentor to empower staff and encourage self-growth and professional development.
One area that stands out within her exceptional contributions, has been her unwavering dedication to supporting the advancement of the planning profession in Ontario and Canada as Ontario Professional Planners Institute President and provincial representative on the CIP National Council. This was most clearly demonstrated in her efforts to advance the Planning for the Future (PFF) project to establish new certification and academic accreditation standards for the planning profession in Canada. Often under challenging circumstances, Mary Lou’s ability to communicate the importance of the PFF recommendations and facilitate an open exchange of perspectives, was instrumental to achieving support across the nation.