Bernard Lemaire was born in Drummondville on May 6, 1936. The oldest of five children, he completed his primary and secondary studies in his home town. In 1957, he went on to study civil engineering at the University of Sherbrooke and later at McGill University.
In 1960, Bernard Lemaire joined Drummond Pulp and Fiber, a family venture in recycling. Three years later, he, along with his father and brother, Laurent, founded Papier Cascades Inc. in Kingsey Falls. Following its preliminary listing at the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1982, the company became Cascades Inc. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the company for nearly twenty years, until in 1992, he relinquished the position to his brother Laurent Lemaire. For two decades Bernard advantageously implemented his management philosophy which is based on respect for employees and the autonomy of the individual and pursued his strategy of expansion both in North America and Europe.
Today, Bernard Lemaire is the Chairman of the Board of Cascades Inc., as well as Boralex Inc., an energy sector in which Cascades holds a 40% share. An unparalleled administrator, he also sits as a member of the Board of Directors of the Groupe Laperrière and Verreault.
In 1985, the newspaper 'Finances' awarded him the title of Businessman of the year, and in 1986 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Administration from the University of Sherbrooke. In 1988, Bernard Lemaire was named Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1991, he received l'Iris d'honneur for his outstanding contribution in the field of human resources. In 1994, L'école des Hautes Études Commerciales granted him the title of Doctorat Honoris Causa and the following year, the Quebec Government awarded him the title of Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. In April 2002, the President of the French Republic conferred on him the distinctive title of the Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Legion d'honneur. In December 2002, in recognition of his social contributions, he was awarded the Jubilee Medal presented by the Honorable Lise Thibault, Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. In 2003, he presided over the fund-raising campaign for the Fondation de l'Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
Bernard Lemaire is closely linked with Cascades' success and has been recognized by, among others, Les Mercuriades, l'Entreprise de l'année, le Cercle des bâtisseurs, Prisme, Les Olympiades industrielles, etc. A prominent figure of modern Quebec, Mr. Lemaire personifies entrepreneurship.
Bernard Lemaire is the father of three children, two sons and one daughter. In his leisure time he enjoys playing golf. He is also fond of car racing.