Bertrand was born in Coaticook, Québec on 16 September 1891 as the eldest of six children born to harness maker Napoléon Bertrand and Irish-born Julia Mullins. She was friends with the sister of Louis St. Laurent, Canada’s 12th prime minister from 1948 to 1957, and they became acquainted as a result, before his tenure as prime minister.
Bertrand never married and had no children. She worked as a buyer and saleswoman for Magasin FX Lajoie before moving to Montréal to care for her parents. When she was in her 80s, she moved into a nursing home in Montréal. On 29 November 2004, aged 113, she became Canada’s oldest resident after the death of New Brunswick’s Anne Samson.
Bertrand became the oldest woman in the world following the 11 December 2006 death of Elizabeth Bolden. She was not the world’s oldest person, however, as Puerto Rican man Emiliano Mercado del Toro was almost four weeks older.
Bertrand died on 18 January 2007 at the age of 115 years, 124 days. She was survived by a nephew, André, and a niece, Elaine. She was one of the top 15 oldest validated people ever upon her death. Her successors as Canada’s and the world’s oldest woman were Jennie Fitzgerald and Emma Tillman respectively.