Fernand Daoust

Fernand Daoust, trade union official (b at Montréal 26 Oct 1926). Between 1969 and 1993, he was successively General Secretary and President of the Québec Federation of Labour (QFL), and a major force and key figure on the Québécois scene.

Daoust, Fernand

Fernand Daoust, trade union official (b at Montréal 26 Oct 1926). Between 1969 and 1993, he was successively General Secretary and President of the Québec Federation of Labour (QFL), and a major force and key figure on the Québécois scene. After university, he became involved in the union movement in 1950, campaigning in turn for the Hatters' Union (1968), the CANADIAN CONGRESS OF LABOUR, and the CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS. From 1959 to 1968, he worked at the Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers' union. Then, he held the position of Québec head of the CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.

In 1969, he embarked on a long career on the Executive Committee of the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL), when he was elected General Secretary of this group of affiliated trade unions under president Louis LABERGE. Fernand Daoust succeeded Laberge in 1991, and retired in 1993. From 1994 to 1996, he was President of the Solidarity Fund QFL, a union investment fund for the protection and creation of jobs.

Fernand Daoust was involved in many public organizations throughout his years of militancy: the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation, the Office franco-québécois de la jeunesse, and the U du Québec à Montréal.

However, it was as defender of the rights of Québec workers to work in their own language that Fernand Daoust made his mark on the Québec public arena. Since 1959, in negotiation with multinational businesses, he demanded that discussions take place in French. He was a founding member (1971) of the Mouvement Québec Français (MQF), an organization that grouped together trade unions, and cultural and national organizations dedicated to the defence of the French language. A member of the Board of Directors for the Office de la langue française since its establishment in 1977, he intervened relentlessly on linguistic issues.

Fernand Daoust has merited many honours. In 1994, the Conseil de la langue française decorated him with the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique. In recognition of his contribution to the French language, he was awarded the Prix Georges-Émile-Lapalme (1998), and the same year he was named Patriot of the Year by the Société Saint-Jean Baptiste de Montréal. In June 2001, he was made a Chevalier in the Ordre du Québec.