The Renaissance Team is like a large family, devoted to its social mission. They all believe in the transformative power of the job training program to actually change lives.

Pierre Legault, founder and CEO of Renaissance

Pierre Legault Directeur Général de RenaissanceA social entrepreneur from the onset, creating social change through economic efforts, Pierre Legault has a vast experience in the area of assistance and support for autonomy of the poorest and is a pioneer of sustainable development in Quebec. His personal journey has literally led him to put into practice in an exemplary manner the Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you will feed him for life.”

“The idea for a project like Renaissance came to light while I was working at Moisson Montreal Harvest. My involvement with the organization led me to understand that many of the food bank users were people excluded from the workforce who had the desire to work but encountered important obstacles. I said to myself that we had to help these people to enter the workforce or return to it.” 

During his reflection, Mr. Legault realized that a global vision was needed: it was imperative to equip the disadvantaged with the tools necessary to develop their capacities and to gain their autonomy through job training. At the same time, a special effort was made to develop activities which would reduce the pressure on the environment by recovering used goods. 

“The primary mission for Renaissance was, is and always will be job training which is, in my opinion, the first step towards a real social integration. Before starting Renaissance, I looked around to see what was being done elsewhere. There was the French model which advocated for the creation of temporary positions which gave the participants the opportunity to acquire skills and regain self confidence. I really liked that model because it really benefitted the people. But I wondered why the social and the economic aspects couldn’t be combined. Why couldn’t we reach our social objectives while at the same time generating a surplus with our activities which would then be reinvested in the organization? I found my answer in the United States where an organization called Goodwill had adopted this approach and this different way of doing business. That’s where the idea came to open a thrift store where the eventual surplus would serve to support the job training program.” 

Thus Renaissance has developed a unique Quebec model which adheres to a triple purpose and maintains a balance among the social, environmental and economic aspects of the organization. ​

“Sustainable development is inscribed in our DNA and is one of the key elements of our organization. We generate added social, environmental and economic value. Social, because the participants work and find their place in the sun. Environmental, due to citizen involvement and responsible consumption. Economic, because the used goods sold in our stores support our mission and also help people on limited budgets and the general public. All of this has an incredible ripple effect and I like to think, as other people have mentioned, that we are an enterprise of the twenty-first century!”

Led by the Board of Directors and the CEO, the organization is divided in four large departments: Socio-professional Services, Operations and Supply Services, Human Resources and Financial Services and Information Technology.


Operations and Supply Services

 Éric St-Arnaud, Directeur du Service des opérations et de l’approvisionnement chez Renaissance

Éric St-Arnaud

Deputy General Manager

“What is most rewarding while managing an economic activity, is knowing that the entire surplus is reinvested in a mission where all the human values are at the heart of all the activities of the organization. The Operations allow Renaissance to function and to be 85% self-financed. As part of my work, I manage the entire donation chain – from the Donation Centres and Bins, to the transportation to the stores, the sorting, and resale in the stores. My responsibilities also extend to the supervision of the maintenance of all our locations, the housekeeping staff and the marketing department. Renaissance is a flourishing organization. It is a stimulating work environment and it is very rewarding for me personally to continually meet new challenges and to work with people who make a difference in the lives of others each day.”

Socio-professional Services

Martin Petrarca, Directeur des services socioprofessionnels chez Renaissance

Martin Petrarca

Director of Socio-professional Services

“Integration into the workforce provides the opportunity to choose one’s daily path. It allows one to open up and to be in contact with the socio-economic environment and also become a working member of our society. The secret of our success: integration into work, by working. The participant is supported by the training team comprised of a professional employment counsellor and the management staff who work at the Fripe-Prix stores. They support and encourage the daily progress of the participant and help him to overcome the obstacles to employment. Our strength is our belief that everyone can succeed! Everything is put in place to ensure that the training situation realistically reflects what the participant will encounter in a real work situation. Behind the notion of “employability” lies a particularly interesting approach: the unemployed person is not a victim of our society, but, that person has the power to change his situation by mobilizing and accepting to step out of his comfort zone.”

Human Resources

 Mouhssine Marrakchi, Directeur du Service des ressources humaines chez Renaissance

Mouhssine Marrakchi

Director of Human Resources

“I derive a lot of personal satisfaction from my work at Renaissance, because I contribute to the development of an organization which changes lives. Along with my team, I am responsible for all of the recruitment, as well as the establishment of health and safety regulations and procedures, career management and the salary policy. Staff training is also an integral part of my service and eases the integration of new employees, while improving the competencies of the existing permanent staff. I ensure that every day, the personnel necessary for the growth of the organization is in the right place and at the right time and that the work environment is conducive for everyone’s personal growth. I must always bear in mind that the people we recruit must not only be able to adhere to the mission, but also play a role in the job training of the participants and this in a unique work environment presenting particular challenges due to the atypical operations at Renaissance.”

Financial Services and Information Technology

Dominic Desbiens

Director of Financial Services and Information Technology

The Financial Services and Information Technology department include three sections: accounting and payroll, information technology and statistics for the socio-professional services and the reception desk at the Head Office. Dominic’s primary mandate, with the collaboration of his team, is to ensure the long term viability of the organization. On a daily basis, Dominic oversees, among other things, the protection of all the assets of the organization while maintaining a balance among the three aspects of Renaissance: social, environmental and economic. Two participants are trained each year in Dominic’s department. The participant follows a six month training program as a bookkeeping clerk. “During the whole training session, my team and I, in collaboration with the socio-professional counsellor, train the participant to improve his employability. By the end of the training, the participant becomes autonomous and efficient in completing the daily tasks. It is therefore difficult to let him go. We are very happy though, when we learn that the participant has found a job, because then we can say mission accomplished!”

Sales Department

 Benjamin Mercader, Directeur du Service des ventes chez Renaissance

Benjamin Mercader
Sales Director

It has been quite a journey for Benjamin since he began working as an Assistant Manager at the Fripe-Prix Côte-des -Neiges Store in 2012! After becoming manager of the Pie IX Store, then, later becoming the supervisor of the stores and Book Stores, Benjamin was appointed Sales Director in November, 2016. His role is to supervise the operations in the Renaissance stores, Book Stores and Donation Centres so that they reach their performance objectives. " The organization is growing so quickly and to continue at this pace, it is important that we stand out with impeccable Customer Service and that we be recognized as an employer of choice." Benjamin works in close collaboration with the store supervisors and the Assistant Director. " I am so proud that everyday I get to work with such amazing, passionate and competent people!" He has quite a team to rely on -among them:  the socioprofessional  counsellors and the store management team who contribute to the participants' success in their job training program.  " My greatest reward is to see the participants regain their self-esteem and become more autonomous so that they are more serene as they enter the job market."  

Transportation, supply and maintenance

Philippe Cabana, Directeur du transport, de l'approvisionnement et de l'entretien

Dominique Jegorel

Procurement, transport and maintenance director

Every day, Dominique oversees, among other things, the vehicle maintenance, the coordination of donation collection, supplying the different Renaissance locations and managing the sale of goods that could not be sold in the stores to our partners. Dominique can certainly count on the support of the whole team. “I am proud that I was able to build such a complete and solid team. The job is done with respect and in a friendly atmosphere. Team spirit is a priority for me. Everyone should be on an equal footing. I derive great satisfaction from having happy employees.” The participants who follow the stock handling training at the Distribution Centre also are part of this wonderful group. “I show them (with the help of the socioprofessional counselor and the management team) how work is done in a warehouse and how to operate the different machines. They are fully involved in the daily tasks. At the end of their training, they know to respect the security codes and how to operate a pallet truck, a dolly, and a forklift. They also help the drivers to load and unload the trucks. Because of this complete training, they can obtain interesting jobs.” For Dominique, Renaissance is like a big family. “Everyone contributes to the success of the social mission of the organization. Nothing is more gratifying than a participant who finds a job. The effort of each and everyone has thus paid off.”

Board of Directors

 conseil d'administration
The Board of Directors of Renaissance is comprised of community members, as well as the CEO of the organization who is a non-voting member. To learn more, please visit the page dedicated to the Board of Directors.

Volunteers are a precious help for Renaissance

 Chumy, Bénévole au magasin Saint-Laurent chez Renaissance


Volunteer at the Saint-Laurent store

For many years, Renaissance has welcomed volunteers with mental or physical handicaps, who work in the Fripe-Prix stores, Bookstores and at the Distribution Centre. They are supervised by many of our partner organizations. These days, there are ninety-one volunteers who work alongside the employees and participants. Not only do they make a real contribution to the daily operations but more importantly, they transmit their joy and good humour to their coworkers and the clientele.
Patrick really enjoys working with everybody. He is always very happy to see the new participants begin their training, but he becomes attached to each one of them, so he is sad to see them leave even if he knows it is for their own good. His favorite job is to put the shoes and purses on the shelves!

Are you looking for a place to drop off your donations or for a Renaissance store?