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Honorary Members

Honorary membership in the Canadian Institute of Planners is the highest honour the Institute can bestow upon a non-planner. This prestigious distinction recognizes educators, journalists, civil servants, community members, and other individuals working outside of the planning profession who have made a significant contribution to the discipline.

Our Honorary Members

Alan DeSousa 2024
Alan DeSousa 2024

Alan DeSousa has been a strong advocate for planning over his career in government. He has been Mayor of Saint-Laurent, City of Montreal since 2001, providing leadership in the promotion of sustainable development, environmental preservation, and green building through policies, plans, and programs. In addition to his sound administration in Saint-Laurent, he actively supported initiatives related to heritage protection, creative architecture, public transit, active transportation, and the role of enlightened planning at the provincial, metropolitan, and local levels. He has been a long-time advocate for a provincial-wide planning and architecture policy and, after much consultation, such a policy was adopted in Québec in 2023.

During his many years in public service, Alan spearheaded the adoption and implementation of the Montreal Sustainable Development Plan, the Montreal Economic Development Strategy (including an Urban Design Policy), and the Montreal Metropolitan Community Policy on Protecting Natural Areas for 17% of the metropolitan area. He stewarded a number of development projects that embodied innovative planning practices including Bois-Franc, a successful New Urbanist, transit-oriented development, considered among the 50th best projects in Québec, according to Ordre des urbanistes du Québec, and transit-oriented developments appropriate to their locations around the Bois-Franc and Du Ruisseau train stations. He also advocated for an extensive component dedicated to the preservation of natural areas within the first high technology business park in Canada.

Saint-Laurent is a highly diversified community from a racial/ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic point of view. Much of Saint-Laurent was originally developed in the mid-20th century with a focus on accommodating large volumes of vehicular traffic. Saint-Laurent does not have the social composition and urban form that are typically associated with strong environmental agendas. One of the ways Alan has raised his community’s awareness of environmental issues is by influencing the blending of environmental and other urban planning objectives with the day-to-day concerns of the residents of Saint-Laurent, in ways that stress the relevance and importance of these objectives to their community.

Alan has received many awards over his career, among them two awards which pertain most directly to his planning, environmental and heritage preservation initiatives: the Jean-Paul-L’Allier prize from the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec in 2015 and the Frederick-Todd prize from the Quebec Association of Landscape Architects in 2023.

Hon. Michael F. Harcourt OC 2020
Hon. Michael F. Harcourt OC 2020

Through his distinguished career and dedicated citizenship, Michael Harcourt has been a constant advocate for innovative and responsible community and regional planning.  As a community lawyer, City Councillor and Mayor of the City of Vancouver, and as a Member of the Legislature and Premier of British Columbia, Harcourt has shaped and supported more sustainable, vibrant, livable, and equitable cities and regions. He has been a friend and ally to planners, to the planning profession, and to the people, communities, and regions we serve.

Harcourt’s support to the planning profession and the principles for which we stand has been courageous, strong, and articulate on many fronts. Early on, his community activism fostered a reform of planning policies and practices in Vancouver, ending brutal ‘slum clearance’ and urban freeway construction. Later, his civic leadership in Vancouver helped form a vision for the city leading up to Expo 86, and inspired the transformation of the city thereafter. Then, his provincial leadership sponsored new approaches and legislation to resource management in British Columbia to balance economic needs with the imperatives for environmental responsibility, mandating integrated, sustainable regional development. Harcourt also helped bring recognition of the unceded nature of the province’s land base (the traditional territories of many First Nations), facilitating the formation of British Columbia’s Treaty Commission. Beyond government, Harcourt has taken the key themes of contemporary planning across the nation and internationally as a member of the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, honorary Chair of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, advisor to Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, and special advisor to the Prime Minister on cities and the environment. Harcourt articulately carries the planning message in his books and other writings, his public speaking, and his teaching across Canada and around the world.

Harcourt’s advocacy and support for planning and his collaboration with planners have been celebrated provincially and nationally. He is an Honorary Member of the Planning Institute of British Columbia and he has received the Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Urban Institute.  Bringing together all of his contributions to Canadian life, Harcourt is also an Officer of the Order of Canada.