An important step in the growth of the occupation was the formation in 1975 of the Municipal Development Officers Association. It was created to meet three main objectives:
- To provide continuity of input into the design and organization of training for Development Officers. There was concern for new entrants to the field as well as for the ongoing learning needs of experienced Development Officers.
- To provide a common voice for Development Officers, many of whom worked alone in isolated municipalities.
- To improve the status of the occupation and individual Development Officer.
In its short history, the Association has achieved a great deal.
Members of the Association are also appointed to serve as members of the education committee. They are responsible for recommending programs, planning and organizing the semiannual workshops sponsored by the Association. They meet several times between workshops to analyze needs, design programs, and pitch in to help obtain resource people and create learning materials and resources for the programs. This activity has guaranteed the longevity of the programs.
Over the years the Association has earned recognition as a responsible contributor to development control in Nova Scotia. In the early 1980's it was invited to make significant contributions to two projects; the Planning Act review, and the proposed Department of Health Subdivision regulations. In both cases the Association was able to point out problems in administering proposed new legislation and regulations as well as identify problems in applying existing legislation.
An important function of the Association is ongoing administration of a professional certification program. Certificates of competence are issued to members active in development control work who have clearly demonstrated their ability to perform in the job environment. The certificates are gradually becoming used as a standard for job specifications and the recruitment of development control staff. This form of self regulation has enhanced the status of the Association and its members.
The Association issues memberships in two categories. Regular members are Development Officers and Development Control Technicians who are actively employed in development control offices. Associate members are persons with similar interests and background who are not so employed, or government employees and others with an interest in promoting the objectives of the Association.