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Rose Marie Louise Simard was born on April 17, 1947 in Val d'Or, Quebec. Simard grew up in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, graduating from Carpenter High School in 1965. She attended the University of Saskatchewan from 1965 to 1970, earning Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) and Bachelor of Laws degrees.
Louise Simard articled in Regina and was admitted to the Bar in 1971. She has practiced as legal counsel in both the public and private sector during her career. Simard became the first female Legislative Council and Law Clerk for the province of Saskatchewan in 1974, prior to setting up her own law firm in 1978.
Active in many community organizations, Simard has delivered speeches on family and matrimonial property law, real estate law, law and poverty, and human rights. She was appointed a member of the Attorney General's Committee on the Consolidation of the Queen's Bench and District Courts in 1979. She also served as vice-chair of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and as consumer representative on the Counsel of the College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1982-1985. Other past service includes board membership with the Saskatchewan Lung Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and honourary membership with the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association. Simard is a member of the Canadian Medical Association Task Force on Physician Supply in Canada and the Canadian College of Health Services Executives.
Simard was first elected New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Regina Lakeview constituency in 1986. She served as Opposition Health Critic as well as critic for the Saskatchewan Power Corporation, women's issues, the Human Rights Commission and the Ombudsman.
In 1991, after re-election in the Regina Hillsdale constituency Simard became a Cabinet minister in the Roy Romanow government, serving as Minister of Health and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women from 1991 to 1995. Simard introduced the wellness model of health care, involving extensive reforms to the health care system, hospital closures in rural Saskatchewan and the establishment of health districts and boards.
On February 3, 1995, Simard resigned from Cabinet and retired from political life the following year. She joined the law firm of McPherson, Leslie and Tyerman in April 1995.
In 2000 Simard was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO). Simard left this position in December 2003 to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Health Employers Association of British Columbia. She continues (2007) in this capacity and currently resides in Vancouver.
Louise Simard has two children, Paul and Marin from her first marriage.