What's Happening?

  • Legal Services Society (LSS) unionized staff lawyers, represented by the Professional Employees Association (PEA), have issued 72-hour strike notice.

  • The strike occurred on Friday, November 1 at 7 a.m. with a one-day walkout and picketing, targeting LSS headquarters at 510 Burrard in downtown Vancouver. All legal aid centres throughout the province remained open. Allies and media were invited to attend a rally to show support at 12 p.m on November 1 as part of the strike.    

  • As the first point of contact for individuals seeking legal aid, the LSS staff lawyers oversee the legal aid cases that are referred to contract lawyers working in private practices. They are also the ones managing and staffing the 10 Parent Legal Aid and Regional Legal Aid Centres throughout the province.

  • LSS staff, mostly women and Indigenous lawyers, comprise the most important point of contact and serve on the front lines of justice for vulnerable British Columbians who need legal aid.

  • B.C. Attorney General David Eby agreed to a 25-per-cent wage increase in March 2019 for the 1,000 legal aid contract lawyers, and additional wage increases over the next three years were announced earlier this month. In turn, LSS staff lawyers have been offered a two-per-cent annual increase over three years. That is not enough.

  • Without higher increases, legal aid centres throughout the province will continue to face challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified staff lawyers. After years of underfunding, LSS staff lawyer wages are 30 per cent lower than Crown Counsel.

  • Beginning November 22, LSS staff lawyers are taking work-to-rule job action. All legal aid centres will remain open. However, the 26 LSS staff lawyers will now only be completing their essential client and case work. They will no longer be performing other administrative duties, such as responding to emails from management or attending staff meetings.

  • The work-to-rule strike action is incremental in nature and will continue until the B.C. Government comes to the table with an offer that addresses wage inequality.

  • CUPE’s recently ratified collective agreement for Saanich school support workers shows it is possible to address wage inequities like those faced by LSS staff lawyers within the provincial mandate.

  • The legal aid staff lawyers are hopeful the B.C. Government will take similar steps to resolve their dispute and are taking work-to-rule job action to demonstrate their continued resolve.


Media Releases

Media Contact
Brett Harper, Senior Communications Officer
250-385-8791 ext. 206 

Jordana Whetter, Communications Officer
Phone: 250-385-8791 ext. 210


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 46 Issue 1

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

The January-February 2020 issue includes a Vancouver Sun op/ed piece from PEA Executive Director Scott McCannell on the Legal Services Society strike.

Read the January-February 2020 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.

Members Login

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
3 + 2 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.