Member of the Year

This award is to recognize PEI UPSE members who have contributed to PEI UPSE by being union activists, participating in PEI UPSE functions and committees, volunteering time and in general contributing to the union movement of PEI. The selection process is conducted by the Recreation and Convention Committee, who then forward the names of the three most suitable candidates to the President prior to convention. Each nominee will be asked to speak on who they have nominated and why. Convention delegates will be asked to vote for the candidate they deem most suitable. The criteria for the award is as follows:

Positions held in UPSE,

Attendance at Union functions,

Union education qualifications,

A willingness to assist other UPSE members

Member of the Year Nomination Form


2021 Recipient:  Jim Ryan was voted UPSE Member of the Year for 2021. Jim has been a member of UPSE for twenty years. He worked in Long Term Care with Local 6 and is now with Homecare in Local 9. In Local 6, Jim was a Shop Steward, Chief Steward, Director and is currently UPSE’s Third Vice President.  He has attended many educational courses offered by the Union, has taken part in Family Fun Days, UPSE golf tournaments, and Conventions.

Jim has also been involved in health team negotiations for the membership as an RCW representative. His knowledge of the collective agreement was imperative in negotiations.  His work on the RCW Reclassification project for RCWs was key as well toward the recent reclassification.  He believes in promoting the Union and the membership to all Islanders. He helped make the new electronic sign located outside the UPSE office a reality so the Union can display key messaging and UPSE pride. Jim Ryan is Member of the Year as he gives a 100% commitment to UPSE and the members.

2020 Recipients: Bruce Horne and Susan Harris are UPSE’s Members of the Year for 2020.




UPSE mourns the loss of long time activist and friend Bruce Horne who passed away in July 2020. Bruce was a true activist who championed workers rights and connected with UPSE members on a personal level. Bruce lived and breathed UPSE. He was an activist every moment of the day. He was endlessly speaking with his brothers and sisters to educate them about their contract and their rights. He always had his contract in-hand and was ready to look up an article for a fellow member at any time - even on Christmas Eve! Bruce was a regular attendee at local meetings and active within the local. He attended the UPSE yearly conventions and looked forward to conversing with other members about their experiences at work and in life. However, what many people remember most about Bruce was his willingness to always be available to play his music at conventions. He loved to entertain his fellow members and his guitar and harmonica went everywhere he went. Bruce was on many UPSE committees over the years and he always offered input while keeping all members in mind. **Pictured is Bruce's son, Kenzie, accepting on Bruce's behalf.**




Susan Harris is a great advocate about the benefits of union membership and is a great example to her fellow members about being active within the union. Her dedication and commitment to UPSE is evident by her participation and engagement. Susan has always believed in learning more about her union and gaining knowledge about the labour movement so she can be in the best position to help other members. She has taken many courses at UPSE including Welcome to UPSE, Steward I, II, III and IV; Women in Leadership; and Bully Free Workplaces. To her, education is the key for all members to learn and get involved in their union and so she suggests that all members take advantage of the free courses UPSE offers. Susan also knows how important it is to show up for union events like the Annual Convention.






s2019 Recipient: Paula Matheson was voted UPSE's Member of the Year for 2019. She has acted in the role of Steward, Chief Steward, Director of Local 2, Chair of the UPSE Education Committee and has taken advantage of nearly every course UPSE has offered since joining the Union. As a Shop Steward she is relentless in representing the members of her local. She is currently Chair of the Education Committee and works very hard to ensure UPSE members have access to first rate education. Paula encourages members to become more involved in UPSE and through this encouragement has helped members become stewards in their workplaces. She has sat on two rounds of negotiations as a representative for the RCW's in bargaining; and recently she worked on the RCW reclassification project. Paula goes about quietly doing her job as Director, Steward, and Committee Chair without an agenda because she truly believes she is making a better workplace through her union participation and her love for fairness of protecting the rights of her members.

df2018 Recipient: Chrissy Murphy was voted UPSE's Member of the Year for 2018. Lynn Bovyer was pleased to nominate Chrissy, a long-time activist who everyone knows. Lynn called Chrissy the "swag" lady and said Chrissy is virtually everywhere whether it's the UPSE's golf tournament, Family Fun Day at Shining Waters, UPSE Christmas parties, UPSE has a Heart, the Bursary and Scholarship program or handing out gifts to members at convention. Chrissy has served as a Local Director, Chief Steward, Chair of the PR Committee and has participated in numerous rallies, campaigns and educationals. Chrissy is a true activist. Chrissy thanked Lynn and the membership in receiving the award. She said that she is a proud UPSE member and she strives to look after fellow members in the workplace. She said it was a real honour to be chosen as Member of the Year!

a2017 Recipient: Kevin Gotell was voted UPSE’s Member of the Year for 2017. Kevin thanked the membership and said it was an honour to win the award. He told delegates that he enjoys working as UPSE's Secretary Treasurer. UPSE’s Third Vice President, Jim Ryan said "it is because of people like Kevin that our union can look forward to a bright future. Kevin has protected and invested the finances of the union. We have watched the mortgage on our building shrink dramatically. He set the goal of seeing the UPSE building being owned solely by the members. We are fortunate to have Kevin as a constant presence in our union, as it his experience and wisdom that many of us have come to rely on and trust." President Jackson thanked Kevin as well for his commitment and dedication to the members of UPSE.


2016 Recipient: Doug Ferguson was voted UPSE’s Member of the Year for 2016. Doug thanked the membership for the award and told the delegation that he tries his best and that the award just as easily could have gone to Sister Chrissy Murphy who also was nominated. Jim Ryan, UPSE’s Third Vice President nominated Doug and said he has been an active UPSE member for 26 years. His service includes sitting on many committees, being a member of the board and the executive, and acting as a facilitator for UPSE’s education initiatives. President Jackson thanked Doug for his continued service with the union and for defending the rights of members.

2015 Recipient: Kevin Gotell, UPSE's Secretary Treasurer, presents Wilma Ramsay with the union's Member of the Year award for 2015. Wilma works at the Workers Compensation Board. She has been an outstanding union activist throughout her years as a member and has served in many positions. She currently serves as Director and Chief Steward of Local 18. Wilma is also the Chairperson of the Staff Relations Committee and is a past member of the Equality Committee. She participated with the National Workers Compensation Union Coalition and has acted as a reserve representative for the Workers Compensation Board on the past three negotiating teams. Wilma is a team player and is always willing to go the extra mile for her union.

2014 recipient Mike Lyriotokis

2014 Recipient
: President Bovyer congratulates Mike Lyriotokis for winning UPSE’s Member of the Year award for 2014.  Mike works in Child and Family Services in the Family Ties program. He has been an active member for thirty five years serving in many capacities including committee member, Steward, Bargaining Team Rep and Chief Steward. Mike is an outspoken activist for UPSE. He is not afraid to stand up for the membership and always encourages others to do the same.  He does a great deal for people, especially kids. His involvement in the Youth at Risk Program has been invaluable for our younger generation. Mike is also involved with the Labour Management Committee helping to improve relations between workers and management. His steadfast commitment to the union and all members makes him an easy choice for being UPSE’s Member of the Year.

2013 Recipient Steve Mollins

2013 Recipient President Debbie Bovyer congratulates Steve Mollins for winning UPSE’s 2013 Member of the Year award. Steve Mollins is Director of Local 5 and is a Youth Justice Worker with Probation Services in Summerside. Wilma Lewis (Director, Local 18) nominated Brother Mollins for the award and commented on Steve’s dedication to the union over the years. She explained that Steve has worked tirelessly for the membership and is not one to bathe in the limelight. He proudly serves Islanders and makes a difference in the lives of our youth every day in Prince Edward Island through his role as a Youth Justice Worker. His union involvement is nothing short of exemplary. As a member of UPSE Steve has served both as Steward and Director for Local 5. He has been a member of UPSE’s Board of Directors for twenty years which is an amazing accomplishment. Sister Lewis pointed out that Steve has seen it all. She said “he is a man of few words but great thought. When Steve has something to say, we all should listen.” Brother Mollins was also lauded as somewhat of an expert when it comes to Constitutional matters of the union.

2012 Recipient Debbie Johnston

2012 Recipient Former President of PEI UPSE, Mike Butler, presented the Member of the Year award to Sister Debbie Johnston (Local 14, Environmental Technician) at the 2012 Annual Convention. Sister Lynn Bovyer (Local 6) nominated Johnston for the award and credited Debbie for inspiring her to become an active unionist. Lynn praised Debbie for her steadfast commitment to the membership for the past 17 years, and talked about her roles as Steward, Director and Chairperson of the Education Committee, as well as her involvement in the P3 and ATN campaigns. Boyver said “You rarely attend any rally without seeing Debbie. She is not only an activist, but somebody who cares deeply about the union. She is an inspiration to us all and has consistently expressed the idea of getting younger members involved through social media and through education. She believes that union education is important for all activists and should be available for all union members.”

2011 Recipient Paul Griggs

2011 Recipient - President Ward presented the 2011 Membership of the Year award to Brother Paul Griggs (Local 5, Equipment Operator) for his steadfast commitment to the members of PEI UPSE. Brother Griggs was among four nominees for member of the year in 2011 along with Debbie Johnson, Mike DesRoches and Donalda Docherty. President Ward congratulated all nominees and through a vote on the Convention floor Paul Griggs was awarded the Member of the Year for 2011. President Ward commended Brother Griggs for his consistent involvement in the union through attending all local meetings and conventions each year.

2010 Recipient Doris MacKinnon

2010 Recipient - President Ward presented the 2010 Membership of the Year award to Sister Doris MacKinnon for her true dedication to the union movement over the past 32 years. Sister MacKinnon is a wonderful mentor to all of those fortunate enough to come into contact with her and she is a valuable asset to Local 16 and her fellow union brothers and sisters. She has taken on many roles over the years within the union including Steward, Chief Steward, and Director as well as participated on numerous negotiating teams.

2009 Recipient Karen Jackson

2009 Recipient - President Ward presented the 2009 Membership of the Year award to Sister Karen Jackson for her tireless effort and committment to the membership of PEI UPSE. President Ward said Sister Jackson has been a member of the union for 19 years and is very dedicated to the organization and that the membership appreciates all the work she does.

2008 TOOLE

2008 Recipient - Linda Toole, an Addictions Worker from Local 3, was selected as the member of the year for 2008. Nominator President Ward told members of the courage and determination Linda displayed when she agreed to stand up to her employer and grieve what was a blatant discriminatory hiring practice. For many members the act of filing a grievance is in itself an intimidating process but agreeing to challenge them face to face in a legal setting requires a very special person. Congratulations Linda, you truly are the Member of the Year.

2007 Member of the Year Bill MacMillan

2007 Recipient - Debbie Johnston from Local 14 nominated Bill MacMillan for the 2007 UPSE Member of the Year Award. She spoke to delegates about Bill's dedication to his employees at the Cornwall Liquor Mart as well as Liquor Commission employees all over the Island. His commitment to improving the working lives of all members by participating and leading the Civil Service Negotiation Team, his role as Director for Local 12 and his availability for any union member, anytime. She believes that Bill always sees things in a fair and honest way and is willing to stand up for what he believes in.