Paralegals to join PEA Law Society Chapter

Publish date: Thursday, September 21, 2023

LSL - Law Society Lawyers

Today, paralegals working at the Law Society filed an application at the Labour Relation Board to join the Law Society Lawyers chapter of the Professional Employees Association. Paralegals have decided on this step in order to win greater parity and transparency in wages and benefits, recognition for their contributions, and the protections, security, and greater voice that comes with union membership.

This email is being sent to answer some initial questions about paralegals joining the Law Society chapter.

What does this mean for Law Society lawyers?

More members in the Law Society chapter means greater power for Law Society lawyers in collective bargaining. A larger chapter will translate into more leverage, making it possible to win an even stronger collective agreement for everyone.

Why didn’t we hear about this earlier?

Organizing a union is a protected right in British Columbia, but it can still be stressful and difficult to undertake, and intimidation and threats do occur. In order to ensure they were able to discuss unionizing in the most open, safe, and protected way, paralegals decided not to go public before applying for certification.

How was the decision made to allow paralegals to join the Law Society Lawyers chapter?

According to the PEA constitution, in order for a new group of workers to join an existing chapter, both the PEA executive committee and the chapter executive committee need to approve the organizing drive. After reviewing a number of different criteria, including the similarities between the prospective members and ​incumbent members and the contributions the group could make to the chapter, the committees decided that it was in the best interest of the PEA as a whole, and the Law Society Lawyers chapter in particular, to approve the drive.

What happens next?

Within five days there will be a hearing at the Labour Relations Board where officials will review the signed membership cards and the application, and the employer will have an opportunity to respond. If there are no major barriers or objections raised—and we don’t believe there will be any—the certification will be approved, and the Law Society chapter will be expanded to include paralegals.

At the upcoming chapter AGM on October 26, 2023, members will have the opportunity to update the constitution to reflect the expanded membership.

A paralegal member will join the bargaining committee to best ensure the experience and perspective of the new members is included.

If you have more questions, you can speak with your Labour Relations Officer, Brett Harper (250-385-8791 ext 206 or, or members of the LSL Executive Jessica Abells, Kathleen Bradley, and Manika Rajan.

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. 

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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.

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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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