Form a new union at your workplace

The PEA is a union for professionals. Among us are lawyers, foresters, librarians, teachers, engineers and university staff. Because we specialize in representing professionals, we put your unique education, accreditation, skills and training at the forefront.

We value your life’s work and will defend your professional needs and integrity, and ensure you get what you deserve in your career—fairness, security and respect.





Benefits of membership in the PEA

Representing professionals is our specialty. Our members typically have at least one degree and perform highly specialized work, often advising management and making decisions that impact the security and well-being of others.


We understand you have unique needs and obligations in your profession. You have responsibilities—like paying association fees and following your professional code—and you might have additional requirements—like liability insurance.


Your professional needs will guide us to represent you with integrity and intellect. Our work for you will provide a strong foundation, allowing you to focus on your profession and the work you value.

Common problems we can help you solve

You have the legal right to form a labour union in BC; the BC Labour Relations Code protects you: your employer cannot take negative action against you for being involved with the process of forming a workers union.

How unions work

Your collective agreement

You’ll have a collective agreement—a legal contract—that lists the terms and conditions of unionized employees in your place of work. Included in this document are compensation, vacation, hours of work, raises, overtime and more. It will also outline how to handle a situation where the collective agreement isn’t being followed. See an example of a collective agreement.

  • Elected union members negotiate the collective agreement with your employer’s management team, who are excluded from the union. The agreement has a fixed term, usually of a few years, before it must be renegotiated.
  • Collective agreements frequently lead to better agreements for employees because they are negotiated in the best interest of all staff. Compensation and treatment of employees will be fair and equitable.

Decisions in the union

You and all union members will elect colleagues to an executive that will work with your employer’s management on everything related to union members. The executive will also be responsible for making sure the employer is following the terms of the collective agreement.

  • If the employer is not following the collective agreement, the union will follow the grievance process outlined in the contract.
  • A very small percentage (1 per cent) of each member’s pay will go to helping the union run.
  • The union will hold meetings several times a year to update members and provide information via email.

Supporting you

Union members will be supported by the PEA every step of the way—negotiating the collective agreement, working with management, moving forward with grievances and learning about being in a union.

  • PEA members have access to learning opportunities to help you and your colleagues learn about being in a union and become leaders in your place of work.
  • PEA members can call a professional labour relations officer with their concerns or issues in the workplace.

You have the legal right to join a union. Your job is protected by the BC Labour Relations Code.

How to join the PEA


Contact us in confidence for more information. We may be the perfect fit for you and your colleagues.


When you’re ready to move forward, we’ll guide you through the process. Step 2 includes signing a membership card and holding a secret ballot vote with your colleagues to join the PEA.


The PEA will work with you and your co-workers to design your new collective agreement—your workplace contract that will outline wages, benefits, respect and job security.

Ready to learn more? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.

In this section

The PEA was formed in 1974, by a group of professionals working in the public sector. The story goes that the founders of the union mortgaged their houses to fund negotiations of the union’s first collective agreement. 

Now, the PEA is BC’s union for professionals. We represent a wide range of professionals including lawyers, foresters, engineers, agrologists, teachers, veterinarians, fundraisers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, psychologists program managers, librarians and more.

Our union is led by the PEA Executive. They represent members from across the chapters of the PEA and set the overall vision and direction for our union.

Resources for our members

Navigating a union can sometime be a challenging process. Under this section of the website you will find resources to help you navigate the PEA. In the members section you'll find expense claim reimbursements, information on the PEA's scholarship and bursary program and our grants and donations program.

Collective bargaining and job action resources explain the process of collective bargaining and what to do in the unlikely event of job action. 

Local reps can also find resources to help them complete their job more effectively. This includes ways to welcome new members, how to take notes in investigation disciplinary meetings and more.

The heart of our union

The PEA is made up of nine chapters, or groups of members who either work for the same employer or are in the same field of work. Each chapter has an elected executive tasked with running the affairs of the chapter. Each chapter is entitled to representation at the PEA Executive, the governing body of the union. 

Our members work for a range of employers: the Province of BC, the University of Victoria, St. Margaret's School, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, the Oil and Gas Commission, the Law Society of BC, Legal Services Society, the Okangan Regional Library and health authorities across BC.

Professionals need unions now more then ever

Since the 1970’s, when the PEA was formed, our mission has been to ensure our members can work in safe, productive environments and receive fair and reasonable wages and benefits for the valuable work they do. We help individuals and groups of professional workers to understand the challenges they face in their workplaces and some of the solutions available to them. 

We work with potential members to become certified as a union and achieve the wages, benefits and respect they deserve. 

The Professional | Volume 48 Issue 1

The Professional is the PEA's award-winning, quarterly magazine for members.

The Spring 2022 issue takes a deep dive into the work of GLP members and their work during provincial emergencies.

Read the latest issue



The PEA was formed in 1974 to represent licensed professionals in the BC Public Service. Since then the organization has grown to include a wide range of professionals from across BC. Find our more about our governance, staff and strategic direction.

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