Born in Lachine (or maybe Montreal). During the Lower Canada Rebellion, he commanded the Patriote forces in the Battle of Saint-Eustache. Trapped with his men in a church by the British troops who set flames to the building, he was killed while attempting to escape through a window.
He died to shouts of "Remember Weir!", a reference to George Weir, a British spy executed by the Patriotes. After pillaging of the village, the British mutilated Chénier's corpse to scare and humiliate his Patriote supporters:
Chénier was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic religion until 1945. The name was condemned because Jean-Olivier Chénier fought on holy ground inside a church.
The Chénier park in the Bas-St-Laurent was renamed after the excommunication of the family.The excommunicated family moved to Hawkesbury, Ontario. There is a statue of Jean-Olivier Chénier in St-Eustache in remembrance of those who died in the fire of 1837. Chénier Street in Montreal is named for him, as is the Jean-Olivier-Chénier Section of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society of Montreal.
The Chénier Cell of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), responsible for the assassination of Pierre Laporte, was also named for him. CLSC Jean Olivier Chenier on Oka Road in Sainte-Eustache, Quebec, was also named after Chenier.