Recently, the British Columbia Labor Relations Board (Board) issued a decision accepting a trade union’s application under the Labour Relations Code, which was submitted using electronically signed membership cards. Although the Board found that the union’s use of the Adobe E-Sign software was in compliance with the Electronic Transactions Act, it only accepted three of the four e-signed cards that were submitted. The three cards it approved were completed using the “draw function” of Adobe E-Sign, which allows the user to use a finger or stylus to physically sign a touch screen device. In contrast, the Board did not accept the fourth card because it used the “type function” of the software instead, analogizing it to “a pen and paper printed block signature in quotation marks.”
According to the Board, the fact that the E-sign software contained mandatory fields for the employee’s name, signature, and date provided assurance that the cards were signed and dated at the time of signature. In the event that E-sign programs other than Adobe are used, the Board cautioned that it “will expect a similar demonstration of [membership signatures’] reliability and authenticity with regard to date and signing of the cards before the application for certification process is completed.” It further cautioned that e-sign applicants will be expected to identify the audit trail for electronic signatures at the time applications are filed.