Quebec is home to some of Canada’s most prominent billionaires and renowned actors who earn millions. In fact, Quebec’s billionaires are responsible for paying a large percentage of the total tax revenue for the province.
While many wealthy Quebecers try to live a more private life, the Quebecers on this list are too wealthy to hide.
Curious how they got their billions? Wondering how they started? If so, then you’re in the right place! Below, I’ll list 20 of the richest Quebecers and show you how they earned their money.
I’m originally from the Vancouver area, where there are plenty of billionaires. However, BC isn’t the only place where the wealthiest Canadians choose to live. Quebec also has its fair share of billionaire business owners, families, and world-famous actors.
Here’s a quick chart overviewing the richest Quebecers and how much money they earn:
|Name or Family||Estimated Net Worth|
|Emanuele Saputo||$1.9 billion|
|The Desmarais Family||$5.81 billion|
|Alain Bouchard||$5.08 billion|
|Jean Coutu||$3.39 billion|
|Serge Godin||$2.66 billion|
|Jacques D’Amours||$2.54 billion|
|The Rossy Family||$2.52 billion|
|Robert Miller||$2.42 billion|
|Pierre Karl Péladeau||$2.42 billion|
|Stephen Jarislowsky||$2.18 billion|
|Philip Fayer||$2.06 billion|
|The Kruger Family||$1.91 billion|
|The Molson Family||$1.75 billion|
|Guy Laliberté||$1.45 billion|
|Sharon Azrieli||$1.33 billion|
|Richard Fortin||$1.33 billion|
|Charles Sirois||$1.19 billion|
|William Shatner||$100 million|
While some of the millionaires and billionaires on this list come from historically wealthy families, many of them are self-made entrepreneurs who carved a spot for themselves and rose to power.
Below, we’ll further examine the lives and businesses of the richest Quebecers in Canada.
Net worth is a term that tends to be loosely thrown around, but not everybody understands what it actually means or how it’s determined.
In short, an individual’s net worth is the estimated value of all of their liquid and non-liquid assets, after liabilities and debts have been subtracted.
These assets could include:
- Savings in the bank
- Houses and properties
- Stocks, cryptocurrency, and other investments
- Annual revenue
- … and more
While an individual or family’s net worth may constantly change, data aggregators are able to determine their net worth from publicly-known details, such as tax records, businesses they own, and real estate they own.
The Richest Billionaires In Quebec
A billion dollars ($1,000,000,000.00) is more than the average Canadian could spend in a lifetime.
Not accounting for inflation, you’d have to spend over $16.6 million per year (over 45,000 per day) every year for fifty years to run through just one billion.
That was just an example to give you some perspective on just how much a billion dollars is. Most of the individuals and families on this list have multiple billions. Here’s some more about who they are and how they got so rich.
1. Emanuele (Lino) Saputo
- Net Worth: $6.9 billion
- Industry: Dairy
When I made a detailed list of the 50 wealthiest people in Canada, Emmanuel Saputo came 18th on the list. In the province of Quebec, though, Mr. Saputo is the wealthiest. Emmanuel Saputo’s story is a very interesting one, given his background as an Italian immigrant.
Emanuel immigrated to Quebec in the early-1950s with his parents. In their Italian village, the Saputos were known as artisan cheesemakers and owned a small dairy farm. Not surprisingly, the Saputos continued making cheese after they immigrated to Canada.
Emanuele stayed in the family business and helped his parents become one of the largest dairy companies in Canada. He eventually took over the business and led it to even greater heights.
Today, Saputo is a publicly-traded company, and its dairy products can be found throughout Canada.
In addition to Emanuele’s dairy empire, the billionaire has also invested in large stadiums, museums, and other Quebec industries.
- Net Worth: $5.81 billion
- Industry: Investment banking and acquisitions
The Desmarais Family is in charge of one of the wealthiest investment banking conglomerates in Canada.
Paul Desmarais got his start in 1927 when he purchased his father’s near-bankrupt local bus business for a single dollar. He had a plan to turn the business around and make it profitable.
Two decades later, Desmarais’ bus company had grown so large that it purchased all of its direct competitors, making Paul Desamarais one of the wealthiest business owners in Quebec.
Then, he joined an investment banking conglomerate called The Power Corporation, which owns properties and has stakes throughout North America and Asia.
Paul Desmarais’ participation in The Power Corporation is what took his family to true billionaire status. Paul recently passed away, but his surviving children and their families are still heavily invested in The Power Corporation.
Currently, the grandchild of Paul Desmarais is the Vice President of The Power Corporation, and head of fintech investing. Their most notable investment is Wealthsimple, in which The Power Corporation has a significant stake.
- Wealthsimple is one of Canada’s largest and most trusted trading and investment platforms. If you want to get started trading, you can use this link to get a free $25 sign-up bonus!
- Net Worth: $5.08 billion
- Industry: Convenience stores
Alain Bouchard may not be a name that you recognize at first. However, Mr. Bouchard’s story is one of the most inspiring stories on this list and proves that anybody can rise to billionaire status with hard work and financial intelligence.
Alain Bouchard started off working in grocery stores and pharmacies for most of his teens and early-20s. At 29, Alain purchased his first convenience store. He saved and invested his money wisely, acquiring more and more convenience stores to add to his brand.
Today, Bouchard is the head of Couche-Tard, one of the biggest convenience stores in the world, with over 2,100 locations in Canada. Most notably, Couche-Tard owns Circle K, which is the biggest convenience store brand in the world, next to 7-Eleven.
- Net Worth: $3.39 billion
- Industry: Pharmacies and convenience stores
Jean Coutu has a similar store to Bouchard’s. Jean started off as a pharmacist working in a small Quebec pharmacy. He saved his money up and eventually opened his own pharmacy. What made Jean’s pharmacy different was that he also sold groceries, school supplies, and other convenience store items. Plus, Jean’s store stayed open later than the surrounding grocers.
Jean Coutu grew his chain of pharmacies and created the Jean Coutu Group, to manage his holdings. Recently, he sold the group to the Metro grocery chain for $4.5 billion.
- Net Worth: $2.66 billion
- Industry: Information technology
Serge Godin is another rags-to-riches story of a hard-working entrepreneur creating a billion-dollar empire. Serge started a small IT business while living with his parents, helping small businesses with their technology needs as computers were just beginning to gain traction.
Today, CGI consulting is one of the largest information technology consultant groups in the world and has clients around the globe.
- Net Worth: $2.54 billion
- Industry: Pharmacies and convenience stores
Jacques D’Amours is the second-largest shareholder of the Couche-Tard Group, which is headed by Jean Coutu (mentioned right above).
Jacques was one of Mr. Coutu’s first official business partners and helped him expand the Couche-Tard brand throughout Canada and North America.
Jacques retired in 2014 but is still on the board of directors offering his guidance.
- Net Worth: $2.52 billion
- Industry: Discount stores and grocery
The Rossy Family is the definition of a true family business. Lebanon immigrant, Selim Rassy, moved to Quebec, changed his last name to Rossy, and opened a small general store in 1910.
As his business grew, so did his family. His sons grew the business throughout Quebec, opening Rossy stores wherever there was a demand. They later started Dollarama, a discount store found all over Canada.
8. Robert Miller
- Net Worth: $2.42 billion
- Industry: Electrical parts distribution
Robert Miller is the head of Future Electronics, one of the largest electrical parts distributors in Canada. From wires to plugs and even large-scale electrical distribution, Future Electronics supplies everything.
Miller is one of the more progressive billionaires and has been involved in environmental protection initiatives throughout his life. Most notably, Miller offers employees free shuttle bus transportation to work; an effort designed to reduce carbon emissions from gas cars on the road.
- Net Worth: $2.42 billion
- Industry: News and media
Pierre Karl Péladeau is one of the wealthiest media moguls in Quebec. His father was a journalist who created Le Journal de Montréal, one of the more prominent newspapers in the city. Pierre took over the company after his father’s death, moving to acquire Sun Media Corporation, which owned Quebecor.
For a while, Pierre was involved in politics but eventually returned to business as the CEO of Quebecor.
- Net Worth: $2.18 billion
- Industry: Investment banking
Stephen Jarislowsky left Nazi Germany shortly before the outbreak of World War II, immigrating to the Netherlands and eventually the United States, where he served in the Army and helped the war effort overseas. After the war, Jarislowsky moved to Montreal to work for Alcan, one of Canada’s largest mining companies.
He went on to create Jarislowsky Fraser Limited, a very successful global investment corporation. Scotiabank recently purchased the corporation from Stephen Jarislowsky in a historic deal valued at over $900 million.
11. Philip Fayer
- Net Worth: $2.06 billion
- Industry: Payment processing
Philip Fayer earned his billions by creating a payment processing company called Nuvei in 2003. What started off as a passion project quickly developed into a profitable business, and Fayer dropped out of college to continue building his company.
Today, Nuvei does business with companies all around the world, facilitating transactions for businesses and banks for over 150 different global currencies.
- Net Worth: $1.91 billion
- Industry: Paper, wine, energy innovation
The Kruger Family earned its wealth from becoming a giant in the paper manufacturing business in the early-1900s. To this day, the production of paper, tissue, and recycled cardboard are some of the biggest earners for the family. Additionally, Kruger Inc.
has ventured into the energy sector, investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric.
The Kruger Family also owns wineries and vineyards, selling their products online and in stores throughout Canada.
- Net Worth: $1.75 billion
- Industry: Beer and alcohol
The Molson Family founded one of the largest beer brewing companies in North America. Their family dates back to the late-1700s when Englishman John Molson immigrated to Canada and started a small local brewery. Two centuries later, his family has greatly expanded the business.
Recently, Molson merged with Coors to become Molson Coors, which owns Coors beer, along with several other international beer brands.
- Net Worth: $1.45 billion
- Industry: Circus arts
Guy Laliberté is one of the more interesting billionaires on this list. Unlike the billionaires who started a traditional business (such as convenience stores and paper mills), Mr. Laliberté is famously known as the founder of Cirque du Soleil.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, “The Cirque” was one of the largest and most reputable circus groups in the entire world and hosted events across the globe. The live shows and performances earned millions, showcasing acrobats, dancers, and other incredible performers.
- Net Worth: $1.33 billion
- Industry: Opera singer, real estate
Her father, David Azrieli, immigrated to Canada during World War II, shortly before Nazi Germany invaded and occupied the country. In Montreal, David Azrieli started a building company and eventually started to build small apartments and duplexes that he would rent out.
In his later life, David Azrieli spent a lot of time in Israel and helped build some of the country’s largest skyscrapers and high-rise buildings.
David left his fortune to his children, but the most successful of them is Sharon Azrieli, who had established a solid financial foundation as a world-renowned opera singer. The money she inherited from her father only made her wealthier.
- Net Worth: $1.33 billion
- Industry: Convenience stores
Along with Alain Bouchard and Jacques D’Amours, Richard Fortin is one of the founding members of Couche-Tard, one of the largest convenience store brands in Canada (and the world). He doesn’t own as large of a stake as Bouchard and D’Amours, but he is a billionaire nonetheless.
- Net Worth: $1.19 billion
- Industry: Telecommunications
Charles Sirois is the head of Telesystems, which used to be one of the largest wireless telecommunications companies in Canada. The empire was started by his father, Simon Sirois, who owned Setelco, a company that manufactured pagers in the 1980s.
Simon and his family business went on to partner with Bell and later Rogers. Charles Sirois sold most of Telesystems’ telecom investments in the early-2000’s. Today Telesystems is primarily known as an investment banking firm.
You may have heard of some of the billionaires on the list above before. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are ghosts, though. Millionaire actors and musicians tend to be better known than their billionaire counterparts, despite the huge gap in their net worth.
With that in mind, here are some of the richest Quebecer actors.
- Net Worth: $100 million
- Known For: Star Trek,
If you’ve ever seen the original Star Trek, then you’ll recognize young William Shatner as the protagonist – Captain James Kirk of the USS Enterprise. After his rise to fame, William Shatner continued his career as an actor, director, screenwriter, and songwriter. Today, he’s worth over $100 million!
- Net Worth: $4 million
- Known For: The Avengers franchise, Westworld, Mission Impossible
Pom Klementieff is a Quebec native who’s most known for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers franchise as Mantis. She’s become a prominent action movie star and her career is just getting started!
- Net Worth: $3 million
- Known For: Schitt’s Creek, Boy Meets Girl, Snow Cake
If you’ve ever seen Schitt’s Creek, then you’ll recognize Emily Hampshire. The Montreal native was one of the main actors in the show from its start in 2015 up until 2020. Prior to getting into TV, Emily Hampshire was an actor in several notable films, such as Boy Meets Girl and Snow Cake.
Leading Industries in Quebec
Quebec, with its rich history and vast resources, has nurtured an economy bolstered by both traditional and innovative industries.
- Aerospace: Montreal isn’t just the aerospace capital of Canada—it’s one of the world’s major aerospace hubs. Home to industry behemoths like Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney, and CAE, the city buzzes with a network of over 200 smaller firms, R&D institutions, and specialized schools.
- Information and Technology: Quebec’s burgeoning tech ecosystem is a testament to its adaptability. Montreal, particularly, has transformed into a sanctuary for tech startups, driven by factors like lower operating costs, world-class universities, and supportive government policies. Artificial Intelligence and gaming, powered by institutions like MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms) and major gaming studios, have emerged as standout sectors.
- Agri-food: As Canada’s second-largest province, Quebec boasts an agri-food industry that is nothing short of impressive. The province is a significant producer of maple syrup, accounting for over 70% of the global supply. Dairy farms dot its landscape, benefiting from the supply management system and producing renowned cheeses and other products.
Wealth Generation Methods
Quebec’s entrepreneurial spirit, combined with its diverse economy, has given rise to varied wealth-generation avenues.
- Entrepreneurship: Names like the Desmarais family, the Bombardier-Beaudoin family, and Alain Bouchard (founder of Couche-Tard) resonate in Quebec. These entrepreneurial legends started with vision and determination, building businesses that would leave indelible marks not just in Quebec, but globally.
- Investments: Montreal’s robust financial sector, including the Montreal Exchange, has made it a hotspot for investment activity. The city’s diverse real estate—from historic properties in Old Montreal to new high-rises downtown—also offers attractive opportunities for local and international investors.
- Innovations & Patents: Quebec’s universities, such as McGill and Université de Montréal, have been cradles of innovation. From biotech discoveries to cutting-edge software development, the commercialization of research has become a lucrative venture for many.
The richest Queber, by far, is Emanuel Saputo, the head of Saputo dairy. One of the most interesting things that struck me about this list is that many of the top billionaires are second-generation family business owners.
There’s something to be said for sticking to a single business for the long term. If you can provide consistent value, there will always be a need for your service.
Interested in dropping your nine-to-five and starting your own business? If so, keep on reading to see my list of the best business ideas to start in Canada.