André Chagnon, a Quebec businessman who founded telecommunications giant Vidéotron and later set up one of the largest family foundations in the country, has died.
In a statement, his family said Chagnon passed away in the early morning hours at the age of 94, surrounded by loved ones.
The Montreal-born Chagnon, an electrician by trade, was the founder of Videotron in 1964, the Quebec cable television company that would become one of the largest telecommunications companies in Canada.
Videotron was later acquired by Quebecor Media Inc. in 2000, with Chagnon and his wife, Lucie, in turn setting up the Lucie and Andre Chagnon Foundation with a goal of preventing poverty. It was endowed with a $1.4 billion contribution from the family.
“Throughout his entire career, Andre Chagnon was dedicated to helping the most disadvantaged members of society,” the family said in the statement. “This commitment led him to participate in the creation of several organizations and involve Videotron in supporting various causes in the areas of education, health, the arts and sports.”
They wrote that even at age 72, Chagnon devoted the same energy to the foundation as he did to every other venture he’d undertaken during his lifetime. The foundation said in a statement Chagnon left a lasting legacy and it would continue his important work.
“Like you, we will remain resolutely turned toward the future and will continue to pursue your ambitious objective of preventing poverty by contributing to the establishment of favourable conditions for the development of the full potential of all young people living in Quebec,” the foundation said.
The statement from Chagnon’s family said that aside from his business and philanthropic achievements, Chagnon also was passionate about any venture that could help the lives of fellow Quebecers and supported numerous causes and provided knowledge and experience to others.
“A visionary who brought people together, he firmly believed in the involvement of individuals and communities in determining their future,” the family said.
1/2 Le Québec perd un homme brillant et visionnaire, avec le décès d'André Chagnon. Je l’ai consulté depuis que je suis en politique. J’offre mes plus sincères condoléances à ses enfants Johanne, Claude, Élaine et Isabelle ainsi qu'à toute sa famille.https://t.co/1JYmL3jjuX— François Legault (@francoislegault) October 8, 2022
Chagnon won numerous awards and distinctions during his lifetime, including as an Officer of the Order of Canada and the Ordre national du Quebec, the medal of honour of the national assembly in Quebec and honorary doctorates from McGill University and HEC Montreal. In 2009, he was inducted into the Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame.
Quebec Premier François Legault paid tribute to Chagnon as a “brilliant and visionary man” and someone he had consulted many times during his political career as he offered his condolences to Chagnon’s children and family.
“By founding the cable company Videotron, Mr. Chagnon shaped the Quebec of today,” Legault wrote on Twitter. “His social involvement with the Lucie and Andre Chagnon Foundation to prevent poverty was exceptional.”
Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne wrote he was saddened to learn of Chagnon’s death.
“He was a visionary and thoughtful man who helped shape our society,” Champagne wrote on Twitter, offering condolences.
Chagnon is predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Lucie Dolan, who died in 2014, as well as a son, Christian, and granddaughter, Caroline. He is survived by his four surviving children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.