Diane Bellemare earned a PhD in Economics from McGill University in 1981. Before that, she completed a BA at the University of Montreal in 1969 and a Master of Economics at the University of Western Ontario in 1971.
Bellemare taught at the University of Quebec at Montreal from 1972 to 1994 as an assistant professor, associate professor and full professor in the economics department and, from 1991 to 1994, in the business administration department. Her areas of specialization included macroeconomics, labour economics, income security and public economics. During her university career, Bellemare sat on many university committees, became director of the economics graduate studies program, conducted a number of studies on employment policies and aging and worked with international research groups. She also published several books and numerous academic articles and other works. Some of her publications gained prominence in public policy circles. Bellemare lectured frequently and provided media commentary on economic policy in Canada and Quebec.
Bellemare was a driving force behind the Forum pour l’emploi (1987–1996), a non-profit association of key decision-makers from employers, unions, communities and institutions whose goal was to promote employment.
While still a professor, Bellemare sat for two terms on the Economic Council of Canada (1983–1991), where she was a member of various research committees and the executive committee. She was appointed to the National Statistics Council (Statistics Canada) (1990–1996) and the Institut de recherche et d’information sur la rémunération (IRIR) (1991–1994). Bellemare also appeared weekly on the small screen from 1988 to 1991 as an economics columnist on Télé-Québec’s public affairs program “Questions d’argent.”
In 1994, Bellemare was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Société québécoise de développement de la main-d’œuvre (SQDM), whose mandate was to manage the entire range of federal and provincial labour force development programs. She was also Chair of its board of directors. When the SQDM was dissolved in 1997, Bellemare became Chair of the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail, where she served until 1999.
Between 2000 and 2003, Bellemare worked as a consultant. During this time, she was responsible for the QFL Solidarity Fund’s employment periodical La minute de l’emploi. From the fall of 2003 to the spring of 2007, Bellemare worked at the Quebec Employers Council, first as Vice-President of Research and later as Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist. She subsequently became Special Economic Advisor to Quebec’s Official Opposition Leader, Mario Dumont, through the end of 2008. Bellemare then joined CIRANO (the inter-university research institute) as an associate fellow.
Bellemare was a candidate in the April 2003 Quebec provincial election for Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), serving as the ADQ’s spokesperson for public finance and employment. She also ran for office in a 2008 by-election and the 2008 Quebec provincial election.
Bellemare is married and has two children.