Already 50 years!

Bernard, Alain and Laurent Lemaire, co-founders of Cascades.

It seems like only yesterday that, with help from the Kingsey Falls community and Desjardins, we got the old Dominion paper mill up and running again. And yet so much has happened since we decided to settle on the banks of the Nicolet River to start what was to become our life’s work.

At the time, we hadn’t the slightest inkling that this crazy venture would become such a long journey, one that would lead us all over North America and even as far as Europe. But we were young and driven to succeed. From humble beginnings, we learned the paper business as we went along, working side by side with our employees on the floor of the plant. I still remember one of the first tokens of appreciation we gave our employees was Christmas turkeys. We couldn’t afford to pay them any more at the time. That’s why, when Papier Cascades started showing a profit three years after it began, we instituted our profit sharing program and adopted a management philosophy built on transparency, teamwork, accountability, initiative and mutual trust—in other words, a philosophy founded on respect.

During that first decade, we developed our expertise and began diversifying and expanding in Quebec. I still have fresh memories of when we had only a few dozen employees and our sales figures were barely above the $300,000 mark. Today, we are 12,000 strong, working in a hundred units on two continents. In the last five decades, we have multiplied our number of employees by 500 and our sales figures by 13,000!

We owe our success to our business partners, the people who believed in Cascades, and to the fact that we remained true to our values. For 50 years, our team of dedicated Cascaders has been making sustainable, innovative and high-quality products, while respecting both communities and the environment.

If there’s one thing we’re proud of, it’s having built a healthy business with a bright outlook for the future. It is our hope that the first five decades will have laid a solid foundation for Cascades’s continued growth.

The years go by, but the passion is as strong as ever. Long live Cascades!

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About the Author
Bernard Lemaire

Bernard Lemaire was born in Drummondville on May 6, 1936. From a family of five children, he completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown. 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 on the Montreal Stock Exchange in 1982, the company became Cascades Inc. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the company for nearly thirty years, until relinquishing the position to his brother Laurent Lemaire in 1992. For three decades, Bernard remained true to his management philosophy based on respect for employees and individual autonomy, while pursuing the company’s expansion both in North America and Europe. Today, Bernard Lemaire is a member of the Board of Directors of Cascades Inc.

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