Membership evidence

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.

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

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.

 Read the 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. 

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
  • legible
  • 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.

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:

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.


This page was last updated: 2023-08-22

Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for general purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is subject to the Labour Relations Code, the Labour Relations Board Rules, the Labour Relations Regulation and the published decisions of the Board

The Labour Relations Board acknowledges the territories of the many diverse Indigenous Peoples in the geographic area we serve. With gratitude and respect, we acknowledge that the Board’s office is located on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.