Originally from Rivière-du-Loup, in the Lower St. Lawrence, Jacques Rivard received his classical education in La Pocatière. In 1962, he enrolled at the Institut radiophonique de Québec. Then, in 1963, he abandoned his classical education to obtain a diploma in Teaching English as a Second Language. He taught for a few years before starting his career as a radio journalist with Radio-Canada in Quebec. In 1972, he was recruited by Radio-Canada to be part of the French-language team as a general newspaperman. But his interest in the environment is what led him to become a columnist on the early morning show "Daybreak."

Jacques Rivard became parliamentary correspondent in Ottawa for Radio-Canada television in 1977. Then, in 1981, he came to Montréal to work as a journalist until 1998. During that time, he attended the Rio Conference on Environment and Development (1992), taught journalism at Radio-Rwanda (1993) and became a Nieman fellow at Harvard University (1995-1996) where he had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the environment. In the 1990s, he was a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. From 1998 to 2004, the year he retired from Radio-Canada, Jacques Rivard was a correspondent for Radio-Canada television in Vancouver. While on the West coast, he covered extensively the effects of climate change in the Arctic, the Yukon and Alaska. He even became an important source of information for CNN, an American television network, in reference to climate change. For the past ten years, Jacques Rivard has been invited to speak around the world. He has been to Honduras, Mexico and France as a guest speaker on environmental issues. Since 1991, he also teaches journalism at the University of Montréal.