Early life, education, and family
Jennie Carignan grew up in Asbestos, Quebec in a French-speaking household. Growing up the only career that she considered aside from the military was dancing as she had learnt ballet, lyrical and jazz dancing since the age of eight. Carignan joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1986 and studied for a degree in fuels and materials engineering from the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. She received a commission in 1990 and served at the Canadian Forces Bases of Chilliwack and Valcartier. Carignan married Eric Lefrançois in 1990, having met whilst in the same platoon at military college and taking ballroom dance classes together whilst there. He later retired from the army to look after their four children. Two of their children (a son and a daughter) are also serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.