As part of their application to the Board, unions must include membership evidence when it applies to:
- represent a new group of employees,
- change or expand the size of an existing bargaining unit, or
- replace an existing bargaining unit.
The membership evidence is intended to show that the union has the support of a minimum percentage of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit. This is called threshold support.
What is membership evidence?
There are two types of membership evidence the Board will accept:
- copies of membership cards signed by the employee within six months of the date of the application for certification, or
- if a membership card was signed more than six months before the date of application, a copy of that older card and proof of dues payment to the union within six months of the date of application
Requirements for membership cards
The Board reviews the membership cards to make sure they meet the requirements in the Labour Relations Regulation, Part 2 - Membership evidence
In order for a union to rely on a membership card to apply for certification, the card must:
- have the minimum wording set out in the Regulation
- be signed by the individual named on the membership card and dated at the same time
- be signed within six months of the application date
If the membership card was signed more than six months before the application date, the union must also provide evidence showing that the employee has been making regular dues payments in the six months leading up to the application.
Important things to remember:
- you must sign the card yourself - another person can't sign the card for you
- the date must be written so the Board can clearly tell when the card was signed
- we encourage you to spell out the month to avoid any confusion, e.g. 10 SEPT not 10/09
In addition to physical membership cards, a union is permitted to rely on electronically created membership cards if the cards:
- meet the membership evidence requirements and
- are created by a software platform with an acceptable audit trail, such as Adobe E-Sign.
Working Enterprises, BCLRB No. B67/2016 (738 KB) decision that describes audit requirements for electronic membership cards. Contact the Registrar if you have questions regarding electronic membership cards.Read the
If the union isn't including the original membership cards with its application, it must provide copies to the Board that are:
- scanned and attached in .pdf format
- in color
- submitted in a single .pdf document, without a password (the Board will add its own password upon receipt)
- followed immediately by the audit trail created by the software platform that created the membership card (if the membership cards are electronically created)
The union must keep the original membership cards. The Board may ask to inspect the original paper cards or original audit trail (if the union filed electronic membership cards).
If these requirements haven't been met, the membership card will be rejected and won't count towards the calculation of threshold.
Will the Board reject membership cards for other reasons?
The Board may also reject membership cards if it decides the card doesn't reflect the true wishes of the employee. For example:
- the employee revoked their membership card after signing it,
- there were fraudulent or illegal organizing tactics,
- the card was signed due to coercion or intimidation, or
- misrepresentations were made which render the card conditional or equivocal
If the rejected membership cards mean threshold is not met, the Board may dismiss the application.
Leading decisions provide useful information on how the Labour Relations Board applies the Labour Relations Code (the Code) and information on what is or is not covered by the Code.