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ASQ Montreal — Wisdom From Our Wisest (Marcel Charbonneau)

By Jean-Pierre Amiel posted 03/15/22 06:53 AM


Eric Hosking 2021


By Eric Hosking, Section Treasurer, Membership Chair, ASQ CQA, CQE, CSSBB  FR

Did you know that we have a number of ASQ Montreal Section members who have been with the section for more than 40 years. Four decades! What do you think they can tell us about the evolution of Quality in Quebec? What do you think they can tell us about being successful in the quality profession? What was their quality path and why have they chosen to be with the ASQ for so long?
We asked Marcel Charbonneau, who joined the ASQ 49 years ago, and he provided this fascinating story.


Marcel Charbonneau

Marcel Charbonneau, T.P., ASQ CQA
ASQ #00008263, Senior Member

I started in 1968 as a chemistry laboratory technician at Canadian Arsenals Ltd where I showed myself to be very versatile; I worked in the laboratories of non-destructive & destructive testing and QA metrology. My employer encouraged us to pursue studies by reimbursing the costs following successful completion of the courses.

The Human Resources department informed me of a program in quality CQ / QA, the COSE (Centre d'Organisation Scientifique de l'Entreprise). After 4 years of evening classes I completed the quality engineering analyst program, a program of more than 1900 hours.

In subsequent years I attended and participated in more than 300 hours of training through courses and seminars on management, quality improvement, new revisions of ISO 9000 standards and auditor training with ETI – ASQC Milwaukee and Canadian universities. During this training I had world renowned professors: Joseph M. Juran, W. Edwards Deming, Frank M. Gryna.

The COSE program, in French, was developed by Mr. Denys A. Pilon who was my teacher in quality management, mentor and friend. This program and the exams were based on the program of ETI - ASQC and the CQE certificate of ASQC. ASQC Montreal Section supported this program.

There were no such programs at that time in CEGEPs or universities. A committee made up of Denys A. Pilon, Pierre Caillibot, Philippe Lecompte, Michel Rhéaume and Jean-Pierre Amiel participated in the creation of the certificate in quality management at l’École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS). Following its inauguration in 1982, ÉTS continued the work and several of our members were invited as lecturers.


Mr. Denys A. Pilon, B.Sc., CQE, Senior and Fellow ASQC, Member of the International Academy of Quality and several years of experience in the industry in quality, consultant and trainer in quality management, helped me discover the ASQC. I joined him as a member of ASQC Montreal Section 0401 in 1973.

In order to be able to bring together Francophones working in the field of quality, we obtained accreditation from ASQC Milwaukee for the formation of the Section Québécoise 0404 of the ASQC in May 1974. Since that time, I have always been involved as a volunteer. I have held all the executive positions: secretary, treasurer, 2 terms as section chair, newsletter editor, and I was responsible for the program of activities, etc.

Section 0404 held 18 conferences during the 37 years of its existence, organized with partners such as COSE, AQQ (Association Québécoise de la Qualité), ASQ Montreal section 0401, SRE (Site Reliability Engineering), OTPQ (Ordre des Techniciens Professionnels du Québec), BCM (Le Bureau de Commerce de Montréal), MQQ (Mouvement Québécois de la Qualité), ÉTS, Club Maillage Qualité de Lanaudière and l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ).

I was co-president with David Tozer, from ASQ Montreal Section 0401, in 1986 for the bilingual colloquium: “DESTINATION QUALITY”, during Quality month. As a volunteer, I participated in at least 20 other conferences.

ASQ404 Colloque Destination Quality 1986R

ASQ404 Colloque Destination Quality 1986V

During those years, mainly though the ASQ and our conferences, I met several people with very interesting experiences from various backgrounds who made me realize that each organization is not unique, that is to say that whether quality management is for the military, food, telecom or pharmaceutical products, etc., we all live the same realities. Giving customers what they asked for: i.e. designing and producing it in a committed organization with competent staff.

Networking also allowed me to climb the internal corporate ladder and apply elsewhere to better fulfill myself. It is my observation that a member of the ASQ must maximize their status by getting involved in their section, even the smallest tasks will allow a member to know the organization and to assert his or her skills.

In 1982-83 I teamed up with other quality professionals who founded the AQQ (Association Québécoise de la Qualité) which became the MQQ (Mouvement Québécois de la Qualité). We needed to have a 100% Quebec and French-speaking group to better communicate and teach quality management in all Quebec companies.

Since Section 0404 had members with ASQ certifications, we offered courses, in French, to prepare for the ASQ exams. We used the references recommended by the ASQ for the CQA, CQT, CQE, CSSGB, CSSBB and CMQ/OE.

I obtained a CQA in 1992 and with my experience I also gave training.

ASQ404 Colloque

ASQ404 Colloque2006 Ethics & Performance

ASQ404 Colloque 1974

Other colloquium souvenirs


My involvement in the various functions and my continuous training have allowed me to climb the ladder in my organizations.

I have held various positions: technical officer in the technical manufacturing department; technical officer in the QA (Quality Assurance) department and QA supervisor in a manufacturing company (Canadian Arsenals Ltd). In January 1980 I was promoted to manager of the QA department. The company worked with the DND 1016, MIL-I-45208 and AQAP-4 standard: “Company Inspection System”. My department included 40 people and a supervisor in each sector: QA, QC and labs.

During my last year at Canadian Arsenals Ltd, I worked on making QA system documentation compliant to DND 1015, MIL-Q-9858a and AQAP-1 (early military quality system standards).

At the end of 1987, I joined the Canada Post Corporation Montreal division as a quality manager, as part of the corporate team. With a small team we had to audit the mail sorting processes: manual and mechanical, PCB installation inspection, cause and effect analysis and CA (Corrective Action) of the different processes.

At the beginning of 1990, I got a dream job with a team of professionals to participate in the realization of gigantic projects of the SEBJ (Societé d’Énergie de la Baie James) phase 2, as a QA Representative with responsibility for supervision, evaluation and audit of subcontractors and equipment suppliers. The contracts required Canadian standard Z299.1; .2 or .3-1985. Companies have since moved away from these standards, with the arrival in Canada in 1991, of ISO 9001 or 9002-1987 standards.

At the end of my SEBJ contract I worked as an advisor, auditor and quality trainer at Multiqualité Inc, Warnock Hersey, Accademia Qualitas and STAT-A-MATRIX.

The last 13 years of my career were spent at QMI division of CSA as Head of Sales and Training, supervising a team, drafting service offers, meeting clients, presenting QMI services at business fairs and giving training on the ISO 9001 standard and auditor courses. As a Chief Auditor, ISO QMS, I carried out more than 800 monitoring and recording audits in chemical, paper, mechanical welding, machining and electromechanical manufacturing companies.

I volunteered as an assessor 2007 and 2008 and chief assessor 2009 at the Grand Prix Québécois de la Qualité organized by the MQQ and the Government of Quebec.

I was able to succeed thanks to my continuous training. If I had to do it again, I would go into industrial engineering by specializing in quality management.


We need to come together and get involved by joining an association.

As a member of the ASQ, I was able to benefit from a vast network both for training and their certifications and from recognition by my peers, which is an asset with American customers or suppliers.

Members must be involved when participating in activities. During speaker events for example, I observe that they should ask more questions and voice their opinions in order to better understand and even challenge the speaker.

New members, by participating in their association, will be able to improve their network of contacts which may lead them elsewhere to new and exciting opportunities.

After all my years with the ASQ and my section, I can say that my involvement has allowed me to benefit, to succeed and to evolve. As you have read, I left my first employer after almost 20 years and it was my best decision.

Much remains to be done to improve quality. I believe that the teaching network of technical CEGEPs and universities must include the notion of quality management. It's everyone's business, not just one particular group. Everyone is concerned: designer, expert, manager, specialized worker, etc. and they must know the tools for measurement, improvement and communication. These concepts must be integrated into the management of regular work in the same way as productivity, performance, safety and the environment.

It seems Utopian to think that the system will change, but all our little gestures count and can advance the cause that is close to our hearts and that is why I am still a member of my Montreal section of the ASQ.

In 2012, I had the honour of receiving tributes and thanks from the ASQ Section Montréal francophone 0404 for my exceptional contribution to the section and to the promotion of quality in French in Quebec.

ASQ404 M Charbonneau Award 2012

I am very proud to have joined an association where I was able to develop professionally and make friends with people dedicated to a great cause. Since my retirement in 2008, I have continued my participation in activities, and I continue to support voluntarily, following the merger of the two Montreal sections.

I stay in contact with professionals, I stay informed on topics related to quality and I allow myself to voice my opinions based on my experience.

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