Michel Bélanger was born in Levis, Quebec in 1929, and studied at both Laval University in Quebec City, and McGill University in Montreal.
Known and respected for his integrity and business ethics, Mr. Bélanger had a lengthy career in the civil service from 1954 to 1972. He served with both the Federal and Quebec governments where he held a variety of senior posts in departments concerned with financial and industrial affairs.
Mr. Bélanger would leave government service to pursue his career in the private financial sector in 1973 when appointed President and CEO of the Montreal Stock Exchange. In 1976, he was appointed the President of the Provincial Bank of Canada, and would later become its CEO. In 1979 he would successfully merge the Provincial with the Canadian National Bank to create the National Bank of Canada for which he would hold the position of Chairman and CEO until 1992.
Mr. Bélanger also sat as Chairman for Avenor Inc, Levesque-Beaubien & Company, United Westburne Inc., and the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, in addition to many Directorships with such companies as Cogeco Inc., Canadian Pacific Limited, Credit Industriel Desjardins Inc., DuPont Canada Inc., Inco Limited, Power Corporation of Canada Limited, and Sears Canada Inc., to name just a few.
In 1990-1991 he was the Co-Chairman of the Commission on the Political and Constitutional Future of Quebec (Bélanger-Campeau Commission), and in 1995 he was Vice Chairman of the No Committee.
He sat as the Vice Chairman of The Canada Council, and as a Member of the Canadian-American Committee, the Regie de la Place des Arts, and the Canadian Council of the Conference Board of Canada, as well as being named Honorary Treasurer of the C.D. Howe Research Institute.
For his contributions to the Canadian business landscape, Mr. Bélanger was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976, appointed Grand Montréalais in 1979, and elevated to Companion of the Order of Canada in 1993.