Anna Arthur was born in Victoria, British Columbia. She was unable to find work after graduation in her field of teaching during the Depression. She married Gilbert Arthur, a psychiatric nurse. In 1943 she was hired as a special education teacher at the Boys Industrial School. Anna became involved in organizing the B.C. Government Employees Association and served on the Provincial executive as a representative of the Essondale branch by the late 1940’s. She subsequently worked for the ederal Government and became President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).