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Cascades mourns loss of co-founder Bernard Lemaire

November 9, 2023  By Cascades

Bernard Lemaire (CNW Group/Cascades Inc.)

Cascades has announced the death of one of its co-founders, Bernard Lemaire, at the age of 87.

Lemaire was born in Drummondville, Que., in 1936. In 1960, he joined the family business of waste recovery, Drummond Pulp and Fiber. Four years later, under his impetus, and with the support of his brothers Laurent and Alain, a second life was given to the idled Dominion Paper mill in Kingsey Falls, Que. He then laid the foundation for Cascades.

For nearly 30 years, Lemaire was president of the company, applying his management philosophy based on respect for human resources and initiating an unprecedented expansion strategy. He applied the same recipe to build Boralex, a Quebec flagship in renewable energy.

His brothers Laurent and Alain paid tribute to him: “Bernard was an exceptional man, a larger-than-life character. Visionary, generous and charismatic, he convinced countless people and communities to participate in a huge project, the project of his life: Cascades. His career embodies the emergence of a francophone Quebec that is proud of its roots. Our big brother was a great man. Today, he is a legend.”


“Bernard is the source of the ingenuity and dedication of the 10,000 or so Cascaders,” said Mario Plourde, president and CEO. “It is thanks to him that they are working today in a multinational company that is a role model and whose vision, success and values are praised. He gave the company the momentum that has made it grow and shine for nearly 60 years. His legacy is rich and will live on. On behalf of all Cascades employees, I would like to offer the Lemaire family and Bernard’s loved ones our most sincere condolences.”

Lemaire’s contribution to the business world has been rewarded on many occasions. In 1985, the newspaper Finances awarded him the title of businessman of the year. In 1991, the Association des professionnels en ressources humaines du Québec awarded him the Iris d’honneur for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of human resources management. He has been awarded the insignia of officer of the Order of Canada, officer of the National Order of Quebec, and Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, granted by the president of France. He has also received honorary doctorates from the Université de Sherbrooke, the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Flags on all company buildings will be flown at half-mast and commemorative activities will take place. The public is also invited to visit the company’s digital platforms to pay tribute to him. A virtual guestbook is available on Cascades’ website: cascades.com/en/tribute-great-builder.

You can also show your support by making a donation to the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies.

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