2012 Social Social

Born in Montréal on March 20, 1954, Pierre Legault is one of the pioneers in assistance and supported living for society’s most disadvantaged and in sustainable development in Quebec. With a bachelor of science degree from Université de Montréal and a master’s in management from McGill University, this social entrepreneur has always put the economy at the service of social development.

Mr. Legault’s great compassion and desire to help his fellow man have been apparent since the start of his career. From 1974 to 1977, he worked as an assistant to people living with intellectual disabilities at L’Arche de Jean Vanier and from 1981 to 1984 as a psychoeducator for maladjusted children at the Centre Marie-Vincent.

In 1984, Mr. Legault founded Moisson Montréal, the first food bank in Quebec, which he headed up as executive director until 1990. Drawing on a network of close to 150 agri-food suppliers, the organization collects perishable and non-perishable food from supplier, wholesaler, manufacturer and agricultural producer surpluses, helping provide food to people in difficulty and reducing waste. In 1998, Moisson Montréal played an important role during the ice storm and offered humanitarian aid to many municipalities by distributing some 300 tons of food per day.

Ever concerned about bringing sustainable solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty, Mr. Legault continued to work on improving the living conditions of his fellow citizens and increasing their participation in the economic development of their region. Inspired by European and American social integration enterprises, in 1994 he founded Renaissance, an independent model unique to Quebec, where he has worked ever since as CEO. A social integration and job training enterprise, Renaissance is a springboard to the job market with a mission to develop reliable, skilled labour. It seeks to increase professional expertise, offer support to those who need it and integrate new immigrants to increase their chances of finding suitable employment. In 2011, Renaissance won a Phénix environmental award in the “non-profit organization, waste management” category.

While founding these two organizations, Mr. Legault worked as coordinator for Western Quebec for L’Arche de Jean Vanier from 1990 to 1992 and as secretary general for the Association des Arches du Québec de Jean Vanier from 1992 to 1994. He was also a founding member of the Canadian Association of Food Banks (1988), L’Arche Montréal (1977), the Ontario/Quebec Association of Food Banks (1988), the Fédération des Moissons du Québec (1988), the Fondation des Arches du Québec (1991) and the Collectif des entreprises d’insertion du Québec (1996). 

Over the years, Mr. Legault has been a board member for many organizations, including the Chantier de l’économie sociale, the Collectif des entreprises d’insertion du Québec, Goodwill International and the Canadian Association of Food Banks.

All of the organizations founded by Mr. Legault are still in operation today and are successfully pursuing their initial mandate. The personal journey of this passionate, optimistic and profoundly compassionate man can be summed up by the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”