Simard was born April 17, 1947, in Val d’Or, Quebec, and raised in Meadow Lake. She received a BA in philosophy and a degree in law from the University of Saskatchewan. Simard articled in Regina and was admitted to the Bar in 1971. She worked as assistant to Legislative Council from 1973 to 1974. Simard was the first woman to hold the position of Legislative Council and Law Clerk for Saskatchewan (1974–78). She left that position to found her own law firm. Simard was a member of the Attorney General’s committee on the consolidation of the Queen’s Bench and District Courts in 1979. She was also a board member of the Medical Council of Canada and the Canadian Nurses Association, vice-chairperson of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, and a consumer representative on the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Simard was elected as MLA for Regina Lakeview in 1986, a position she held until 1991. She was the Opposition health critic, critic for women’s issues, and for other portfolios. In 1991 she was elected in Regina Hillsdale when the NDP formed the government. Simard became the Minister of Health and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, positions she held until her resignation in 1995. Simard orchestrated the “wellness” approach to health care that included hospital closures in rural Saskatchewan and the establishment of health districts and boards. She joined the law firm of McPherson, Leslie and Tyerman in April 1995. In 2000, she was hired as the CEO of the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO) and is the employer representative for provincial health care employee contract negotiations.