Michael J. Fortier

Toronto: 416.865.8147
Fax 416.865.7380


BA, 1997
Dartmouth College
LLB, 2001
Osgoode Hall Law School
MES (Environmental Decision Making), 2001
York University

Bar Admissions

Ontario, 2002


Michael is a partner in Torys’ Environmental and Aboriginal Law practices working extensively in the energy, infrastructure, mining, metals and real estate industries. Michael has been recognized as a leading lawyer, including by Best Lawyers, Chambers and Lexpert. He is currently the Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Aboriginal Law Section and was the Chair of the OBA’s Environmental Law Section for multiple terms.

Michael frequently advises clients on key environmental and Aboriginal law and strategic aspects of developing, permitting and constructing energy, infrastructure, mining and real estate projects. His work includes advising with respect to:

  • negotiations with Indigenous peoples and regulatory agencies, especially to resolve impasses, to advance complex, multi-party negotiations and to develop strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with Indigenous peoples;
  • matters relating to the consultation and accommodation and free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples; and
  • environmental assessments and other vital permits, including for electricity generation and transmission, water, wastewater, transportation, waste, mine and remediation/closure projects.

Michael has experience advising Indigenous proponent groups and is currently involved in some of the highest profile projects in Canada.

His dispute resolution practice includes approval hearings, civil litigation (especially with respect to contamination), mediation, negotiation and regulatory prosecutions and other proceedings, including with respect to the Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act, Pesticides Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Fisheries Act and Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Michael often crafts or facilitates the crafting of a consensual resolution. In addition, Michael has also acted in a mediation or intermediary role to successfully resolve disputes.

For existing operations in a wide range of sectors, Michael provides regulatory advice on a broad range of environmental, health and safety issues, including with respect to inspections; investigations; liability assessments; climate change; contaminated sites; air, renewable energy, sewage and other approvals; and transportation, import and export of dangerous goods, nuclear substances, hazardous products and wastes.

As part of Michael’s transactions practice, he regularly assists buyers, sellers, lenders, borrowers, underwriters and investors through all the environmental and Aboriginal law aspects of transactions, from the design and coordination of deal-specific liability assessments; through the negotiation of agreements; and in handling closing and post-closing details. Michael has advised on deals in virtually every industry.

Representative Work

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Chambers Canada—Leading lawyer in environment (2016-2021)

Chambers Global—Leading lawyer in environment (2013-2021)

The Legal 500 Canada—Next generation lawyer in environment (2019-2021)

Best Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in environmental law (2016-2021), Aboriginal law (2021)

The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory—Leading lawyer in environmental law (2013-2020); energy (2013-2017); infrastructure (2015); global mining (2014-2017)

Who’s Who Legal—Leading lawyer in environment and climate change (2016-2020)

Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Environment Lawyers—Leading lawyer (2018)

Corporate Livewire's Global Awards—Leading lawyer in climate change (2016)



Memberships and Affiliations

Michael is a member of the National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section, and the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Section for the Canadian Bar Association. He is also a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Ontario Bar Association and the Dartmouth Lawyers Association.

In addition, Michael is the Chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association, as well as the Executive for both the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and for the Environmental Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association.