Jean-Marie Fontaine


[email protected]
Jean-Marie Fontaine specializes in the field of Maritime law as well as non-marine insurance regulation and compliance. He acts for high-profile clients in both contentious and non-contentious transportation matters.

Jean-Marie's practice encompasses:

  • cargo claims
  • collisions
  • spills
  • disputes relating to shipbuilding and charter party contracts
  • the arrest of ships and cargos
He also has expertise in the drafting of logistics and warehousing agreements, charter party contracts, the purchase, sale and financing of ships and marine insurance policies. He is also recognized for his expertise in the importation and registration of vessels.

Jean-Marie advises insurers, brokers and other intermediaries in the insurance market on regulatory and compliance issues and frequently represents clients before the Autorité des marchés financiers.

He also acts as counsel representing clients in aviation and land transportation matters, and advises in matters involving a variety of compliance, regulatory and litigious issues, ranging from the transportation of dangerous goods to the carriage of passengers.

Jean-Marie appears before the Superior Court of Québec, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Québec Court of Appeal, as well as before the Supreme Court of Canada. He also pleads before the Canadian Transportation Agency.



He has handled a number of cases at the forefront of transportation law, including:

  • Leidos Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: LDOS), a Fortune 500 science and technology leader, in its US$380 acquisition of Gibbs & Cox., the largest independent and privately-owned naval architecture and marine engineering firm in the United States and in Canada.
  • Aimia Loyalty Solutions in its merger with Kognitiv Corporation to form a technology-forward loyalty solutions provider.
  • Ecu-Line N.V. v. Z.I. Pompey Industries & al.: A decision of the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the applicability of a foreign jurisdiction clause in the context of a marine cargo claim
  • Phoenix Bulk Carriers v. Kremikovski Trade: A decision of the Supreme Court of Canada defining the circumstances where property that can be arrested in an admiralty action and specifically dealing with the arrest of cargos
  • Boutique Jacob v. Pantainer & al.: Before the Federal Court of Appeal in which the International Group of P&I Clubs and four major shipping lines intervened on behalf of ocean carriers in a landmark decision dealing with limits of liability in multi-modal transportation
  • Kent Trade and Finance Inc. v. a major US financial institution & al.:  A decision of the Federal Court of Appeal giving effect to foreign choice of law clauses and maritime liens incorporated in ship supply contracts
  • T.Co. Metals v. Fednav & al.: A decision issued by the Federal Court of Appeal in 2012, regarding the scope of arbitration clauses in voyage charter parties
  • Jean-Marie has represented the Canadian Shipowners Association before the Canadian Transportation Agency in a review of proposed increases to pilotage tariffs

Beyond Our Walls

Professional Involvement

  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, The Canadian Maritime Law Association

Community Involvement

  • President, Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club
  • Member, Grunt Club Inc.
  • Executive Member, Montreal Youth of Shipping

Awards & Recognitions

  • Recognized in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada® (Insurance Law) and since 2015 (Maritime Law)
  • Recognized in the 2024 edition (and since 2016) of Chambers Canada – Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Transportation: Shipping (Nationwide - Canada))
  • Recognized in the 2023 edition (and since 2022) of the Legal 500 Canada as a "Leading Lawyer" (Transport: Shipping).
  • Recognized in the 2023 edition of Who's Who Legal: Canada (Transport Shipping)
  • Recognized in the 2024 edition (and since 2022) of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Transportation (Road & Rail)) and since 2015 (Shipping and Maritime Law)
  • Recognized in the 2023 edition (and since 2022) of Lexpert® Special Edition: Infrastructure
  • Recognized in the 2021 edition of Doyle's Guide : Leading Transport Lawyers – Canada
  • Recognized in the 2018 edition (and since 2017) of Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Transportation: Maritime Law)

Bar Admission & Education

  • Québec, 2000
  • LLB (Civil Law and Common Law), McGill University, 1998