Organize Your Workplace

Looking to bring a union into your workplace? The summary on this page will provide an understanding of your rights and the steps required to do so. At the end of this page, we have provided a link to an in-depth overview of the process.

Employee Rights

As is said in section 4 of the Labour Relations Code, every employee has the right to join a union. Section 5 of the Labour Relations Code states that an employee cannot be disciplined or dismissed for joining a union.

Union Certification Process

The first step to be certified is for the union to obtain signed union membership cards from the group of employees who wish to be represented by the union. The signed union membership cards are strictly confidential and the names of those who sign cards will not be shared with anyone other than the Labour Relations Board of BC.

There are two routes to achieve certification using the signed membership cards:

  • Route 1 – Union Membership Cards Only: If the union has signed membership cards from at least 55% of the employees in the group, the Labour Board will certify the union without a vote.
  • Route 2 – Secret Ballot Vote: If the union has signed membership cards from at least 45%, but less than 55%, of employees in the group, then the Labour Board must order a representation vote to determine whether the employees want the union to represent them. The representation vote must be held within five business days of the Labour Board receiving the application, and is conducted by secret ballot. The Labour Board will set a time and place for the vote. If a majority of the employees vote in favour of the union, and the Labour Board is satisfied that the proposed bargaining unit is appropriate, then the Labour Board must certify the Union.

Once a union has obtained enough signed cards to pursue Route 1 or 2, it files an application for certification with the Labour Board. Once the application for certification is received by the Labour Board, the Labour Board confirms through company records that the Union has in fact met the 55% threshold in Route 1 or the 45% threshold in Route 2. The Labour Board never discloses which employees signed or did not sign cards. The only information shared with the employer is the number of cards signed; your confidentiality is secure through the entire process.

If there are no objections to the application, and the Union has achieved 55% cards signed, the Union will automatically be certified to represent the employees applied for. If the union has not achieved 55% cards signed, but has 45%, the Labour Board will order a secret ballot vote of the employees to determine whether the employees want the union to represent them.

If there are objections to the certification application, the Labour Board will conduct a hearing to decide the objections, and the union’s certification application will be put on hold until the objections are decided.

More Information

For more information please contact Orfeo Pagliacci, DC38 Director of Organizing, at 604-209-7801 or

The document below is a more comprehensive explanation of the above summary.

Please click here to download the PDF if it doesn’t display below.