Provincial Executive

HEU’s Provincial Executive (P.E.) is elected by delegates every two years during the union’s biennial convention.

The P.E. is responsible for implementing the goals and policies set by the union’s membership, and guiding the work of the union between conventions.

The 21-member Provincial Executive includes two full-time elected officers – the president and the financial secretary – as well as three vice-presidents, a senior trustee, a senior trustee elect (four-year term), an additional trustee, and 12 regional vice-presidents.

HEU’s top administrative staff person – the secretary-business manager – is also a member of the P.E. and is the union’s main spokesperson. The secretary-business manager is also the chief negotiator for the Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA). The P.E.’s recommendation for this position is subject to delegate ratification at convention.

Meet your Provincial Executive


President, Victor Elkins, Cardiac perfusion assistant, PHSA amalgamated

This is Victor’s second elected term as president. An HEU member since 1990, Victor was first elected to the P.E. in 2006. He has served as 1st and 2nd vice-presidents, and on several Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) bargaining committees. Victor has worked on numerous P.E. subcommittees: political action, pay equity, global justice, equal opportunities and the Pink Triangle standing committee. He has also represented HEU on CLC and CUPE National committees. Victor has filled many roles on his local executive, including chair, vice-chair, chief shop steward, OH&S rep and secretary-treasurer.

Secretary-Business Manager, Jennifer Whiteside

Whiteside joined HEU in her role as Secretary-Business Manager in 2015. With extensive involvement in the health care sector across Canada, Jennifer most recently worked with the Conseil provincial des affaires sociales, which represents 20,000 Quebec union members in the health care and social services sectors. Previously, she worked for HEU and other unions in B.C. in a number of roles including as a labour relations representative and a policy researcher. Whiteside has also consulted with a number of unions and other organizations across the country on a broad range of health policy and labour relations issues.

Financial Secretary, Donisa Bernardo, Pharmacy assistant, Kamloops/Thompson

Donisa, who has served four terms as the union’s financial secretary, was acclaimed by delegates to a fifth term in office. Donisa was first elected to the P.E. in 1998 as a regional vice-president.      She is the chair of the FBA Education Fund, co-chair of the B.C. Federation of Labour women’s committee, and sits on CUPE National’s women’s task force. From 2001 to 2013, she was an alternate trustee on the MPP board of trustees representing the Municipal Employees’ Pension Committee, and she’s now a primary trustee. Donisa served 19 years as her local’s chief shop steward and 17 years as chair.


Barb Nederpel, 1st vice-president, Clerk/care aide, Kamloops/Thompson

First elected to the P.E. in 2012 as regional vice-president, Barb became a member of HEU in 2006. She was co-chair of the union’s LPN advisory committee, the 2012 FBA bargaining committee, and the 2010 resolutions committee. She has held various positions on her local executive, including chief shop steward, chair, vice-chair, treasurer and OH&S representative. Barb has served on CUPE’s National political action committee, the CUPE National/Council of Canadians Health Accord Campaign pilot project, and the B.C. Federation of Labour’s political action committee.

Ken Robinson, 2nd vice-president, Diet technician, Kelowna amalgamated

An HEU member since 1988, Ken has served seven terms on the P.E. – including two terms as president. He has also served as 1st and 3rd vice presidents and as regional vice-president. Ken represented the union as an officer of the B.C. Federation of Labour and a member of CUPE’s National Executive Board and CUPE’s national environment committee. Ken served on the FBA bargaining committee, and HEU’s environment, anti-privatization, patient care technical, and trades and maintenance subcommittees. He has held many positions on his local executive, including chair, chief shop steward and secretary-treasurer.

Talitha Dekker, 3rd vice-president, Accounts receivable clerk, Kamloops/Thompson





Betty Valenzuela, Senior trustee-elect, Health records clerk, Vancouver General

This is Betty’s second term as a P.E. member. She was first elected as trustee in 2012. A long-time secretary-treasurer at her local, Betty’s additional positions on her local executive include shop steward, classification steward and trustee. She has also served on her local’s Employee Family Assistance Program. She has participated on a number of HEU subcommittees – global justice, support workers, clerical and on CUPE National’s global justice committee. Betty has also worked as a facilitator for table officers’ training and on HEU’s bursary committee.

Kelly Knox, Senior trustee, Ward aide, St. Paul’s

Elected senior trustee-elect in 2012, Kelly will continue to serve on the P.E. as the senior trustee. A labour council delegate and local grievance committee member, Kelly became an HEU member in 1986. Elected to the P.E. in 1996, he has also served as regional vice-president and trustee. Kelly is a long-time shop steward at his local. He is currently a warden and has served in various positions – chief shop steward, vice-chair, political action network and as local chair. Kelly has served on the HEU and CUPE National pension committee, and the CUPE National and B.C. Fed OH&S committees. He has also served on the HEU’s pensions, young workers’ and men’s subcommittees.

Jim Calvin, Trustee, Mental health rehabilitation assistant, Chilliwack amalgamated

From 2012 to 2014, Jim served as trustee. This is his second elected term on the P.E. An HEU member since 1993, Jim has worked in stores, food services and as a care aide. He has held various local executive positions, including vice-chair and chief shop steward. Jim currently serves as local chair, shop steward, trustee and grievance committee member. Jim served two terms as co-chair of HEU’s patient care (nursing team) subcommittee, on HEU’s pensions subcommittee and on CUPE National’s health care committee.


Tracy Struck, Portfolio clerk, Royal Columbian




Debbie Dyer, Unit clerk, Royal Columbian

Debbie, who joined HEU in 1998, has been elected to her first term on the P.E. She has been active on her local for the past 14 years. Debbie is currently chair of her local and has served for 10 years as a shop steward and as vice-chair, grievance committee member and on her local’s political action network committee. She has also been a member of the P.E. political action subcommittee. Debbie was also an FBA bargaining committee member in 2012 and in 2014.


Dawn Thurston, Multi-service worker, South Similkameen

This is Dawn’s first elected term to the P.E. Dawn is currently chair of her local as well as a shop steward and OH&S steward. She first joined HEU in 2001, and has previously served on her local executive as trustee and secretary-treasurer. Dawn has worked with the essential services committee and served as her local’s strike captain.

Jody Berg, Care aide, Hillside-Pioneer, Salmon Arm

A first-time P.E. member, Jody has been an HEU member since 2008. For the past six years, Jody has been an active participant on the executive of his not-for-profit local. Jody has served as OH&S steward, warden, conductor and shop steward. In 2014, he became chief shop steward and chairperson. For HEU’s recent biennial convention, Jody served on the constitutional amendments committee. He is also a bargaining committee member.

Shelley Bridge, Long-term care aide, Columbia View

Shelley was re-elected as regional vice-president. This is her second term on the P.E. Shelley, who joined HEU in 1991, helped organize an HEU facility in Trail. Chair of her local for the past 21 years, she has held many positions – chief shop steward, secretary-treasurer, treasurer, OH&S rep and local shop steward. Shelley has served on the union’s resolutions and constitutional amendments committees, the care aide steering committee, strike committee, and she participated on the PPWC raid campaign. As well, Shelley has served on HEU’s trades and maintenance, support workers and political action subcommittees.


Sarah Thom, Care aide, Fort St. John

Since joining HEU in 2014, Sarah has been actively involved with her local. This is her first elected term on the P.E.  Sarah is currently chair and serves as a shop steward. She’s also been a local grievance committee member. Sarah has worked tirelessly in her workplace on the campaign to have hours brought back to HEU members. Sarah has been a resolutions committee member, and she attended CUPE’s 2013 convention.

Mike Cartwright, Power engineer, Prince George

Mike joined HEU in 2007. This is Mike’s first elected term on the P.E. At his local, Mike is an active shop steward, OH&S committee member and senior trustee. He has also served as vice-chair and local grievance committee member. Mike served on the FBA bargaining committee in 2012 and 2014. He also participated on the P.E.’s trades and maintenance subcommittee.


Louella Vincent, Community support worker, WHR Lower Mainland

An HEU member since 1992, Louella is serving her fifth elected term on the P.E. She has been a member of the community social services bargaining committee, and is actively involved in HEU’s equal opportunities, political action and support workers subcommittees, the StandUp for Seniors’ campaign and the Living Wage Campaign. Locally, she has been a chair, OH&S rep, trustee and chief shop steward. Louella has also represented HEU on the B.C. Fed’s human rights committee and the B.C. Fed’s LGBT working group. In the past, she has also represented HEU on CUPE National’s child care committee and the B.C. Fed’s women’s committee.

John Fraser, Dietary aide, Powell River Health Care Workers

John first became a member of HEU in 2004. He was a member of the union’s first Sodexo bargaining committee and currently serves as local chair. He has held many positions on his executive, including chief shop steward, secretary-treasurer, vice-chair and OH&S steward. This is John’s third consecutive term as regional vice-president. John has been actively involved on the support workers and anti-privatization subcommittees, as well as chair of both the OH&S and men’s subcommittees. And he has represented HEU on CUPE National’s OH&S committee.

 Leonora Calingasan, Health care assistant, St. Vincent’s

Secretary-treasurer for the past eight years, Leonora has been an HEU member since 1994. This is her first elected term to the P.E. Leonora has served in many local executive positions – chair, chief shop steward, site rep, OH&S steward, and grievance committee member. Since 2014, she has been co-chair of HEU’s patient care subcommittee. Leonora is also a member of the BC Health Coalition.


Bill McMullan, Residential support worker, Kardel

This is Bill’s second term on the P.E.  Bill was re-elected as regional vice-president. Bill became an HEU member in 2003. On his local executive, he’s currently a shop steward and senior trustee-elect. He is on the labour-management committee for Kardel local, and has served on his local’s OH&S committee. Bill has also served on the equal opportunities and environment P.E. subcommittees.   

Barb Biley, Med steno/cook, Comox

An HEU member since 2001, Barb was re-elected for the second time as regional vice-president. Barb has been a shop steward on her local for the past 10 years. A former local chair and chief shop steward, she has held various positions, including secretary, trustee and grievance committee member. Barb has also served on HEU’s anti-privatization and trades and maintenance subcommittees. While working full-time at St. Joseph’s, Barb works as a casual cook at Glacier View.