Best Jobs

Urban Planner: Canada’s Best Jobs 2016

Governments and builders are searching for visionaries to guide the development of cities and spaces

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs » Canada’s Best Jobs 2016: The Top Jobs in Canada
Urban Planning Jobs


Median Salary: $85,010
Salary Growth (2009–2015): +15%
Total Employees: 10,500
Change in Employees (2009–2015): +30%

Job Description:

Urban planners create and execute land development proposals for governments, developers and consulting companies. They must work and consult with a wide variety of people in their jobs, including social scientists, lawyers, regional authorities and special interest groups. Once a proposal is approved, they are responsible for coordinating the work of urban planning technicians executing their plans.

Job Qualifications:

The direct pathway to a job in the field is to enrol in an urban planning program at university. Related areas of study such as geography, architecture or engineering may also allow you to enter the industry, while an additional master’s degree in urban planning definitely gives applicants an advantage in the labour market. Beyond education, urban planners must also have memberships in the Canadian Institute of Planners and the appropriate provincial planning institute in order to be employed. Some companies may also look for applicants with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, granted by the Canada Green Building Council.


The median salary of an urban planner in 2015 was $85,010. Entry-level jobs start at around $50,000, and compensation generally maxes out at around $100,000 for those in their late careers, according to PayScale Canada.

Career Opportunity:

There’s been a hike in demand for urban planners from governments and developers in recent years, as land use issues have become increasingly complicated in both rural and urban regions. The labour market, however, has also become more competitive—the number of graduates holding a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning more than tripled between 2001 and 2011, while master’s graduates doubled, according to Service Canada.

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How booming cities made urban planning Canada’s hottest job

How booming cities made urban planning Canada’s hottest job

Urban growth—not to mention truckloads of infrastructure spending coming down the road—spell opportunity for urban planners