Michelle Johnston is the president of the Society of United Professionals, the union of choice for Ontario’s professional workers.
A proud Northerner from Timmins, Ontario, Ms. Johnston has burst through glass ceilings throughout her more than 30 years in the provincial energy sector. Beginning in forestry as a summer student, Ms. Johnston moved on to customer service roles before being recruited to Ontario Hydro’s head office. Prior to becoming an elected union leader, Ms. Johnston worked in IT as a Senior Business Process Analyst.
Ms. Johnston became a union activist during the Society’s 105-day strike of Hydro One in 2005. Organizing her colleagues to fight back against two-tier pensions and benefits was an empowering experience that motivated Ms. Johnston to join the Society’s elected leadership.
Prior to becoming President in 2021, Ms. Johnston served as Secretary-Treasurer. In the Secretary-Treasurer role Ms. Johnston maintained the union’s strong financial position and led successful organizing campaigns to grow the Society’s membership. Ms. Johnston has also served the Society as Executive Vice President of Policy and Unit Director in the Hydro One Local.
As part of her role Ms. Johnston holds a number of external offices. She is Vice President (Canada) of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, a member of the Canadian Labour Congress’s Canadian Council, a member of the United Way of Greater Toronto Executive Board, and a director of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Canadian Nuclear Association, and Electricity Human Resources Canada.
Ms. Johnston holds an Honours BA in Psychology with a double minor in Sociology and Social Work from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.
Having beat an aggressive form of breast cancer with the support of Ontario’s health care system and her family, in her spare time Ms. Johnston dedicates her efforts to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada and the CIBC Run for the Cure.