We work to improve your lives by advocating on your behalf, protecting your rights and creating safer working conditions.
We also bring your voice to the table with the powers that be, contribute to healthcare policy through our work with the government and other stakeholders, and represent the interests and expertise of you and your families.
President, SEIU Healthcare
The eldest of six siblings, Sharleen Stewart grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She credits her mother for inspiring her to be strong and independent and her father for teaching her the importance of love and respect.
Dating back to the start of her career as a frontline hospital worker, Sharleen has always been an activist. Never one to shy away from what she believes in, she has spent decades amplifying the voices of healthcare workers and advocating for equality, respect and dignity. She knows that hard work should be rewarded fairly and equally, regardless of gender, race and beliefs.
Sharleen’s ability to mediate and find common ground is at the core of her solution-based personality. She sees herself as someone who supports people to get where they need to be. These are just a few of the qualities that led to her becoming the first woman elected as SEIU Healthcare President in 2003.
As SEIU International Vice-President, Sharleen is the first Canadian woman to sit on the SEIU International Executive Board. She is also the first SEIU woman to sit on the Canadian Labour Congress Executive Committee.
A proud Métis, Sharleen is humbled and honoured to represent SEIU Healthcare’s 60,000 members. She believes being a leader in the labour movement was what she was born to do.
As a mother and grandmother, Sharleen understands the importance of creating innovative and sustainable solutions that not only benefit today’s workers, but future generations as well.
Through hard work and innovation, Sharleen envisions SEIU Healthcare as a 21st century, solution-based union; a union that all members know makes their lives better; a union that teaches employers and governments that the labour movement is a valued partner, not an opponent.
Executive Vice-President, SEIU Healthcare
Growing up in the United States, Carol McDowell remembers getting sick and being taken to the doctor’s office. The visit would end with her mother opening her wallet and paying a bill, which meant she and her four siblings would miss out that weekend on the attractions at the local amusement park.
When Carol moved to Canada as a young adult, she couldn’t believe how drastically different the healthcare system was. She could get sick without breaking the bank. This inspired her to get involved with healthcare and become a nurse.
After earning her Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) diploma from Niagara College, Carol joined SEIU Healthcare as a frontline nurse on February 6, 1978 at St. Catharines General Hospital. Right from the start of her career, Carol was an advocate for her profession and her coworkers, including women who deserved to be treated better in their workplace. She quickly became a steward, and then a chief steward afterwards.
Knowing that RPNs were underutilized, Carol strived to bring their voices to the tables where decisions are made. In 2006, Carol was an instrumental leader in the creation of SEIU Healthcare’s Nursing Division, where she would be elected as the division’s first president. To this day, SEIU Healthcare’s Nursing Division advocates for nurses of all designations, making sure their voices are heard loud and clear.
In 2014, Carol was elected as SEIU Healthcare’s Executive Vice-President. As a frontline SEIU Healthcare nurse for over 30 years, Carol knows firsthand how hard those in the healthcare industry work for their paychecks. This motivates her on a daily basis to make sure SEIU Healthcare is doing everything they can to make sure all healthcare workers are treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
In the coming days, months and years, Carol looks forward to her union spending more time on the ground with members, experiencing their wants and needs and asking them the important questions. Carol believes that the purpose of a union is not to solve problems, but to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Our inclusive and diverse executive board is designed to ensure that every member of SEIU Healthcare is represented. No matter where you live, what sector you work for, or what community you belong to, you have a voice at SEIU Healthcare.
The Executive Board elected at convention consists of the following seats representing membership as follows:
Nursing Division President
Workers of Colour
Long Term Care Sector
Community Care Sector
Persons with Disability
Thunder Bay & Algonquin
Greater Toronto Area
London and Southern Ontario