Services for entreprises Quartier Saint-Roch, Québec - Crédit: André Chamorel

Key sectors

Insurance and financial services industry

Liliane Laverdière
Senior Vice-President, Eastern Region, Desjardins Group
Money working for people

The Desjardins Group—a vital cornerstone of the Quebec economy—is a singular institution and a key financial driver. With total assets of $150 billion, it is the leading financial cooperative in Canada, boasting 5.8 million member-owners and clients. It operates a network of financial services cooperatives and 20 subsidiaries operating in the areas of life, health and property insurance, securities, venture capital and asset management.

Liliane Laverdière
  • Senior Vice-President, Eastern Region
  • Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec
  • Named Economic Leader by Journal économique de Québec (2004)
  • Named Female Leader by Entreprendre magazine (2006)
  • Awarded Celebrities prize by the Quebec City chapter of the Quebec Businesswomen’s Network (2008)

  • Founded in 1900
  • Headquartered in Lévis, Quebec
  • 40,000 employees and 6,500 elected directors
  • Assets: CA$150 billion (as at September 30, 2021)

Desjardins is active in all regions of Quebec and is the only institution with operations in 649 municipalities provincewide. It also operates in Ontario and has signed affiliation agreements with credit unions in Manitoba and New Brunswick. “Alphonse Desjardins, our founder, bequeathed a lasting legacy to the residents of Quebec and the people who run the Desjardins Group,” says Liliane Laverdière, Senior Vice-President, Eastern Region, Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec.

Alphonse Desjardins: visionary ideas

“Alphonse Desjardins was a visionary who laid the foundations for the first credit union in Lévis in 1900. The economic climate at the turn of the century inspired him to adopt the cooperative model. He is the founder of the North American credit union movement. Today, there are 1,020 credit unions across Canada. And that’s how the city of Lévis came to be the cradle of financial cooperation.” Now more than ever, the Desjardins Group is a major financial force in the Quebec City and Lévis regions thanks to the concerted efforts of its local workforce of 8,000 employees, primarily based in Lévis.

Booming insurance market

The insurance sector plays a key role in the greater Quebec City region, accounting for a total payroll of CA$408 million. It is also the second largest economic sector in the province. A total of 11 insurance companies (including Desjardins) are headquartered in Quebec City and Lévis; between them, they created 500 new jobs in 2008, with a further 3,000 forecast for the next five years, according to industry estimates. The local economy is faring well thanks to several dynamic sectors, with the insurance industry and Desjardins leading the charge.

Liliane Laverdière is one of the Desjardins Group’s high-ranking female executives. Dynamic and dedicated, she swiftly rose through the ranks after joining the company in 1978. She has taken on a multi-faceted commitment to regional economic development, as illustrated by her service on the executive board of the Quebec City Chamber of Commerce as Senior Vice-President, Finance. At Desjardins, she oversees an advisory team for the eastern Quebec region providing credit unions and Desjardins Business Centres with business plan implementation support. The region includes 200 credit unions and business centres with a total of CA$30 billion in assets.

Essential leverage

Desjardins is the largest mortgage lender in Quebec and its business centres are a valuable resource for current and future entrepreneurs. With an outstanding loan portfolio of more than CA$20 billion in the commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors, Desjardins is the number-one small business lender in Quebec. Some 400,000 companies have placed their trust in Desjardins.


“Desjardins is forward-looking,” says Ms. Laverdière. For example, in the area of sustainable development, Desjardins was the first company in Quebec to sign on to Équiterre’s institutional campaign known as “Changing the World: One Step at a Time.” Its 12-point commitment to sustainable development includes action in the areas of green transportation, energy efficiency, responsible consumption, green agriculture, optimal waste management and social solidarity initiatives. “Sustainable development has always been at the heart of our commitment. Desjardins has also adopted an official policy in this regard.”

This 21st century commitment confirms that Alphonse Desjardins’ visionary ideas continue to pay rich dividends today.

Cécile Gladel

Download the document

Our partners

PÔLE Québec Chaudière-Appalaches

1175, Lavigerie avenue, suite 300, Quebec (Quebec), G1V 4P1
Telephone : 418-681-9700 Fax : 418-681-1535

Policies of confidentiality and refunding (in french)