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Working as an Urban & Land Use Planner, NOC 2153

Job Description

Urban and Land Use Planners deal with a wide range of issues including: land development; maintenance and use of natural resources and habitats; preservation of the natural environment; development of transportation infrastructure; and urban design and growth.

Working as an Urban and Land Use Planner you will perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Analyze population statistics, economic data, and physical aspects of
  • Meet with residents, politicians, scientists, lawyers and others about land use proposals
  • Create plans to manage and/or protect land
  • Develop policies and programs on land use
  • May specialize in urban, regional, environmental, or construction planning

Source:  NOC 2153 and Career Cruising database (Profile for Planner). 

Industry Overview

The majority of planners in BC work in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

There are few employment opportunities for urban and land-use planners in British Columbia. Many urban and land use planners are employed by municipal or provincial governments and funding restraints in government are reflected in the lower employment growth rate of this occupation.

Planners may specialize in urban, regional, environmental, or construction planning, and may specialize further within these areas.

Job Outlook in BC

Urban and land use planners (NOC 2153)

job outlook for urban and land use planners (NOC 2153)

Chart from WorkBC

Employment Outlook for BC

The Employment Outlook for BC provides job openings projections for Urban and Land Use Planners within BC regions:

Region 2010 Estimated Employment 2015 Estimated Employment Avg Annual % Change, 5 years, 2010 to 2015
Vancouver Island / Coast
290 300  0.6%
Lower Mainland/Southwest 830 880  1.2%
Thompson-Okanagan 130 140  0.6%
Kootenay 30 30  4.0%
Cariboo 40 40  0.0%
North Coast & Nechako 20 20 -0.5%
Northeast 20 20  1.7%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

You can learn more about the urban and land use planning sector in BC from Work BC, Career Profiles 2153.

Types of Employers

Urban and land use planners work in both the public service and the private sector, in a wide variety of fields including:

  • Municipal and/or provincial governments
  • Environmental resource management
  • Land developers
  • Engineering and other consulting companies
  • Economic development

Approximately 20% of urban and land use planners are self-employed as private consultants.


The average annual salary for Urban a Land Use Planners in BC is between $66,000 and $95,000. Earnings for planners depend on a number of factors, including education, experience, employer, and geographic location. Planners who work in management positions tend to have the highest incomes.
In addition to a salary, planners who are permanently employed usually receive paid vacation, and health and dental benefits.

Source:Career Cruising database (Profile for Planner).

Job Bank Canada, Wages Report provides hourly wages for Urban and Land Use Planners in these BC regions:

Hourly wages by region

Source: Job Bank Canada, Wages Report

Working Hours

Most Urban and Land Use Planners work between 8 and 10 hours a day, 40 to 50 hours, Monday to Friday, although they may sometimes need to attend evening or weekend meetings or public hearings. Those in the private sector should be prepared to work outside of conventional office hours more frequently.

Skills, Education, and Experience


  • strong written and oral communication skills
  • leadership, negotiation and problem solving
  • project management and team project work
  • making presentations
  • knowledge of geography and the environment
  • interest in social and economic issues

Education and Experience

To be an urban and land use planner you must have a Bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, geography, architecture, engineering or related discipline. Also, a Master’s degree in one of these disciplines may be required.


Urban and Land Use Planner is a Non-regulated profession in BC

This occupation is non-regulated, which means that individual employers set employment qualification requirements. Most employers require:

Internationally Trained Urban and Land Use Planners

There are three routes by which a planner can become a Candidate member, depending on individual situations and backgrounds:

  • Accredited Planning Degree Route: a university degree in planning from a planning program accredited by the Canadian Institute of Planners or the
  • Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) Route: for planners who hold any academic degree other than a university degree in planning and have completed at least five years of responsible professional planning experience gained through employment in planning And Internationally trained Planners.

Note that International trained Urban and Land Use Planners must provide an evaluation of their degree(s) from a recognized international credential evaluation service such as:


  • Reciprocal Professional Membership Route: available for planners who hold professional membership in and are already fully professionally certified by a foreign professional planning organization with which the profession in Canada maintains a formal reciprocal membership agreement

For further information, see:

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional associations’ publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • CivicInfoBC
    Career opportunities with municipalities throughout British Columbia. Search under professional category ‘Planning and development’
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

  • Canadian Institute of Planners
    CIP’s employment section provides current employment opportunities in Canada and internationally, as well as opportunities for consultants.

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For urban and land use planners, look for these related job titles (from NOC):

  • City or Municipal Planner
  • Community and Urban Planner
  • Community Recreation Planner
  • Environmental Planner
  • Heritage Planner – Land Use
  • Land Use Specialist
  • Mass Transit Services Analyst
  • City or Municipal Park Planner
  • Neighbourhood Planner
  • Planner, Community Recreation
  • Planner, Urban and Regional
  • Senior Planner – Land Use
  • Transportation Planner
  • Zoning Officer

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers who work in the urban and land use planning sector in British Columbia or Canada. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring. You can photocopy from the print directories at Central Library, or use the online directories from a computer connected to the internet.

  • CivicInfo BC
    Contact information for BC local governments and related agencies
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “urban planning” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for urban and land use planners in BC and Canada provide assistance to individuals. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession, for example:

  • Plan Canada / Canadian Institute of Planners
    Also available at the Central Library, 710.405 P69
  • Planning / American Planning Association
    Also available at the Central Library, 710.05 A513n