Media Release: The PEA supports Association of Legal Aid Lawyers Strike Vote

Publish date: Thursday, March 14, 2019

Victoria, British Columbia: The Professional Employees Association (PEA) supports the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers (ALL) and their strike vote. 

“We stand with the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers who are taking action to restore funding for legal aid in BC,” said Scott McCannell, Executive Director of the PEA.

The PEA represents staff lawyers who work at the Legal Services Society and have faced decades of underfunding. “In the early 2000’s we had five times as many members,” said Scott McCannell, Executive Director of the PEA. “The last government decimated legal aid in this province.” 

“We appreciate the current government’s efforts to take some steps forward in restoring legal aid; however the positive strike vote by ALL sends a strong message that it’s time to take bold steps in increasing funding for legal aid in this province,” said McCannell. 

In 2002 the BC Government cut legal aid resulting in the closure of 60 legal aid offices and the reduction of staff lawyers jobs at the Legal Services Society by 79%. At the lowest count, there were only six PEA staff lawyers providing legal aid in BC. Numbers have increased, but not to the levels they were before the previous government slashed jobs. 

A recent review of legal aid in BC, Roads to Revival, recommended changes to the way BC delivers legal aid.

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Media contact: 

Scott McCannell, Executive Director
250-385-8791 ext 203

Brett Harper, Senior Communications and Member Development Officer
250-385-8791 ext 206

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.

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