Bill was one of 14 children in a working-class family and is a direct descendant of Guillaume Renaud, a 1666 immigrant to Quebec. He attended Assumption Collegiate in Windsor, Ontario, and was one of a small handful of Canadian scholarship winners to the prestigious University of Chicago, where he studied Economics and Political Science and was a Vietnam War Resistor and Democratic Party activist. Returning to Canada in the early 1970s, Bill took up Filmmaking and Media at what is now Toronto Metropolitan University, where he helped organize and became a Charter Member and Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1273. He was recruited by the Canadian Food and Allied Workers (CFAW – now the United Food and Commercial Workers – UFCW) as the Canadian Research Director.
Bill rose quickly in the ranks of UFCW, was appointed Research and Education Director of the 40,000-member Local 175 of the United Food and Commercial Workers and was elected President of the 60,000-member UFCW Ontario in the mid-1980s. Active as a sought-after representative of one of Canada’s largest private sector unions, Bill served on several Ontario and Federal Agencies, Boards and Commissions in the areas of Post-Secondary Education, Occupational Health and Safety, Labour, and Energy,, among others. He was co-author, with NDP Ontario Leader Howard Hampton, of Public Power, a History of Ontario Hydro and a highly-praised opposition to Hydro’s privatization. He also wrote the History of the Power Workers Union and was a Founder/Vice-President of Global Energy Vision, a ground-breaking energy services company that created high-value jobs through investments by jointly-trusted multi-union/employer pension funds.
Bill is currently working on a book about Union Leadership.