François Fontaine, Ad E

Senior Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

François Fontaine, Ad E

François Fontaine, Ad E



François Fontaine was the lead counsel in the negotiations of the first-ever deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to be entered into in Canada.

He has a great deal of experience in fraud and anti-corruption matters, business ethics compliance and crisis management. He has advised on and led several investigations, including cross-border investigations involving multiple jurisdictions, in connection with allegations of fraud and corruption in which he conducted interviews and examinations, investigated the facts, provided legal opinions and advised clients on legal and reputational risks.

Mr. Fontaine counsels clients on compliance matters, as well as on the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, AML and Financial Sanctions, and has significant experience in matters involving misappropriation of confidential information, fraudulent financial transactions and tracing and recovery of stolen funds. In relation to such matters, he interacts with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, as well as with multiple foreign authorities. Mr. Fontaine also collaborates with numerous foreign legal counsel to ensure coordinated approach with authorities.

He has a wealth of experience as a litigator in civil, corporate and commercial litigation and penal procedure, including white-collar crime and regulatory investigations, before all Quebec courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. He also defends corporations in environmental matters.

Professional experience

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LL.B., Université Laval, 1984

  • Quebec 1985


  • In 2022, Mr. Fontaine was the lead counsel in the negotiations of the first-ever deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to be entered into in Canada.
  • Conducted the defence of the first company to be prosecuted in Quebec by the federal government under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and was involved in an appeal case before the Supreme Court of Canada challenging the constitutionality of that act
  • Pleaded a major environmental class action case before the Supreme Court and has pleaded numerous cases involving defamation and image rights matters, including injunctions


  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Alternative Dispute Resolution, 2018-2024
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Class Action Litigation, Corporate and Commercial Litigation 2010-2024
  • Chambers Canada, Quebec: Litigation - General Commercial, Chambers and Partners, 2018-2024
  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations, Chambers and Partners, 2017-2024
  • Thomson Reuters Stand-out Lawyers, 2023
  • Benchmark Litigation Canada: Litigation Star 2021-2023
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2013-2023: recommended in Litigation - Corporate Commercial; 2020, 2022-2023: recommended in Litigation - Directors' & Officers' Liability; 2013-2017: recommended in Class Actions
  • Acritas Stars 2019-2021 – Designated as an "Independently rated lawyer"   
  • Acritas Stars 2018 – Designated as a "Star" lawyer by a panel of over 4,300 clients
  • In 2022, Mr. Fontaine was invited by the RCMP to speak about deferred prosecution agreements at the International Foreign Bribery Taskforce Reunion, before members of police forces from Canada (RCMP), the United States of America (FBI), the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.  
  • Taught civil procedure at the Faculty of Law at the University of Sherbrooke.
  • Regular guest speaker on topics pertaining to environmental penal law.



  • English
  • French