Joint Statement: Shortage of Employment Opportunities for Students and New Graduates a Serious Concern for the Profession

OTTAWA, Ontario – March 10, 2021 – ­The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Association of Canadian University Planning Programs (ACUPP) are urgently calling on the planning profession to help create new positions for planning students and new graduates.

“As a result of the pandemic,  we are seeing a sharp reduction in the number of summer jobs, internships, and entry-level positions that new graduates from Canada’s accredited planning programs would typically have available to them,” said Dr. Sandeep Agrawal RPP, MCIP, co-president of ACUPP and Director of the University of Alberta’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.

Planning-related work experience is essential for students and recent graduates, providing valuable learning opportunities, network development, and a critical source of income. CIP and ACUPP also recognize the potential longstanding and cascading effects that a shortage of student and entry-level positions would have on the planning profession.

“Acceptance into planning school is a very competitive process, and the students who make it are smart, committed, and driven to make a difference in the communities and organizations they serve,” said Dr. Richard Milgrom RPP, MCIP, co-president of ACUPP and Head of the University of Manitoba’s Department of City Planning. “It would be very unfortunate to lose these individuals before they even had a chance to get started in the planning profession.”

While not exclusively unique to the planning profession – according to Statistics Canada, the country lost 213,000 jobs in January 2021, and the youth unemployment rate increased to 19.7% – the solutions for ensuring that planning students and graduates aren’t lost requires immediate attention and prioritization from the profession. 

“We are asking all members in all sectors to consider creating new opportunities for planning students and new graduates,” said CIP’s President, Dan Huang RPP, MCIP. “We understand that not everyone is going to be in a position to hire; however, for those who have the means, please consider taking action.”

Many supports are already in place to help employers, including wage subsidies, free job postings, and career fairs. If you wish to learn more, please consider these resources to reduce barriers and help your organization provide opportunities to develop the skills of tomorrow’s planners.

Employer Resources



  • OPPI Student Planner Internship Funding Program (up to $7,500 per employer available)
  • Atlantic Planners Institute offers free student job postings on its website
  • University of Waterloo MA/MES (Planning) student work experience/internship program Employer Information
  • University of Manitoba Co-op and Integrated Work Program Employer Information
  • University of Alberta, Undergraduate Planning Internship Programs – students available for 4, 8, 12 or up to 16 months of full-time, paid work experience. Full recruitment services for employers, including assistance with interview coordination are provided free of charge. Contact Tonya Whelan, Work Experience Coordinator at tonya[dot] to post opportunities or to ask questions. For the University of Alberta Graduate Internship Program, please connect with Andrea Spevak at andrea[dot] or 780-492-1869

About the Association of Canadian University Planning Programs
The Association of Canadian University Planning Programs (ACUPP) represents 18 universities across 24 programs, which offer professional training in urban and regional planning that meet the national accreditation standards. ACUPP and its members promote excellence in planning education, research, and practice.

About the Canadian Institute of Planners
The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) works on behalf of over 7,500 planning professionals nationally and has served as the voice of Canada’s planning community since 1919. Our members work in both the public service and the private sector, across fields such as land-use planning, environmental resource management, land development, heritage conservation, social planning, transportation planning, and economic development.

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Media Contact:
Lori Barron-Munteanu
Manager, Communications
613.237.7526 ext. 507