Big organizations up; smaller organizations down

Average membership of B.C.’s top professional organizations has grown 17.2% since 2016

Some standout company gains are driving expansion in the ranks of B.C.’s largest professional organizations.

Average membership grew 17.2% over the past five years, rising to 14,482 members in 2020 from 12,354 in 2016, according to data on Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Professional Organizations in B.C. list(

The increase in the list’s average membership was spearheaded by higher performers at the top of the list. Membership at No. 1-ranked British Columbia College of Nursing has grown 58.4% since 2016 to 60,000 in 2020. The increase resulted from the 2018 amalgamation of three nursing organizations: the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC, the College of Registered Nurses of BC and the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC.

Pro org list chart

While membership has grown at the largest professional organizations over the past five years, it has declined at smaller organizations lower on the list. The median membership of the organizations on BIV’s listdeclined 7.2% to 8,348 from 8,992 in 2016. Over the past year, the average membership grew 2.1% while the median membership fell 3.4%, which suggests a growing membership gap between larger and smaller organizations on the list. This contrasts to the period between 2014 and 2016 when the average and median professional organizations were growing at similar rates. 

The average one-year growth for the largest professional organizations was 0.8% in 2020, down from 1.9 % in 2019. The median one-year growth rate was significantly lower at 0.04%, down from 1.6% in 2019.

Doctors of BC (No. 6) had the largest one-year growth on the list. Its membership rose 16.7% to 14,000 in 2020 from 12,000 in 2019.

Membership at Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (No. 10) dropped 7% to 9,496 in 2020, down from 10,215 in 2019.

BC Real Estate Association (No. 4) was the only organization in the top five that reported a decline in membership this year. It fell 1.1% to 23,157 in 2020 from 23,406 in 2019.