Four directors have been appointed to the VIA HFR board. They bring a wealth of strategic leadership, and business and public service experience which will enable the new Crown corporation to advance HFR and transform passenger rail service in Canada.
J. ROBERT S. PRICHARD
Chair of the Board of Directors
Mr. J. Robert S. Prichard has had a career in higher education, law, business and public service.
He serves as Chairman of Tory's LLP and as a Director of Onex Corporation, Wittington Investments Limited and Alamos Gold. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold Corporation, and he is also President Emeritus of the University of Toronto and Visitor at Massey College.
At the University of Toronto, Mr. Prichard was a professor of law from 1976-2001, the Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1984-1990 and President of the University from 1990-2000. He also taught at the law schools of Yale (1982-1983) and Harvard (1983-1984 and 2000-2001). He served as Chair of the Council of Ontario Law Deans and Chair of the Council of Canadian Law Deans.
Mr. Prichard's business sector experience includes serving as President and CEO of Torstar Corporation from 2002-2009, and Chair of BMO Financial Group from 2012-2020. He has previously served on the boards of numerous other leading Canadian companies including George Weston, Brookfield Asset Management (Brascan) and Four Seasons Hotels. He was made a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2016 for his contributions to good governance in Canada.
Mr. Prichard also served as President and CEO of Metrolinx from 2009-2010, and as Chair from 2010-2018, and was the Vice Chair of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council from 2007-2013.
Mr. Prichard attended Swarthmore College, earned his MBA at the University of Chicago, and earned law degrees from the University of Toronto (LLB) and Yale University (LLM). Recognized by appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada and as a Member of the Order of Ontario, Mr. Prichard has also received honorary degrees from multiple colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
Vice Chair of the Board of Directors
Ms. Marie-José Nadeau is a Corporate Director and an expert in energy.
Ms. Nadeau is a Director of ENGIE (France) where she is the Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Strategy, Investment and Technology Committee. She is also a Director of Trans Mountain where she chairs the Human Resources, Compensation, Nominating and Governance Committee. In addition, she is a Director of the Electric Power Research Institute, based in the United States.
She is the past Chair of the World Energy Council where she served from 2013-2016. From 1993-2015, she also served as Executive Vice-President and Secretary General of Hydro-Quebec.
Previously, she served as a Director of Metro, Chair of the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) based in the United States, Vice Chair of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and held several other board appointments.
Ms. Nadeau holds a Master's Degree in Public Law from the University of Ottawa. In 2009, the Quebec Bar awarded her the distinction Advocatus Emeritus in recognition of her contribution to the legal profession. In 2016, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her outstanding support to many organizations involved in the arts and education.
Mr. Rob Fonberg has had an extensive career in the public and private sectors.
He was a long-serving Deputy Minister in the Government of Canada. First appointed Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in the Privy Council Office in 2000, he went on to serve as Deputy Minister at International Trade, Associate Secretary at Treasury Board and, from 2007-2013, Deputy Minister of National Defence.
As Deputy Minister of National Defence during the most intense operational period for the Canadian Armed Forces since the Korean War, Mr. Fonberg was involved in all aspects of the Department, from deployments of the Canadian Armed Forces to defence policy renewal to international defence relations. In this role, Mr. Fonberg was integral to stewarding Cabinet-level decision making on all defence matters and aspects of military procurement including major capital projects.
Since 2013, Mr. Fonberg has been active in the private sector as an advisor to start-ups and mid to large scale clients on a range of challenging strategic issues across diverse business verticals.
Mr. Fonberg was the Chair of the Board of Digital Public Square from 2018-2022.
Mr. Fonberg has also been active in the academic and think-tank community. He is currently Executive Fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He was formerly a Fellow with Global Solution Networks, a Mentor with the Trudeau Foundation, Chair of the Government of Canada’s Workplace Charitable Campaign and a Member of the Board of Export Development Canada.
Mr. Fonberg is trained as an economist, doing his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and his graduate degree at Queens University.
Ms. Fiona Blondin is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories, the proud mother of three children and the granddaughter of George Blondin, a highly respected author, storyteller and Indigenous leader.
Ms. Blondin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the board table. As Vice-President of Indigenous Strategy at Cormorant Utility Services, she is a respected advocate for Indigenous rights and well-being and has spent many years working closely with First Nations and the Métis. She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of Indigenous people, promoting cultural awareness, traditions and understanding, and supporting Indigenous-led economic development initiatives.
In 2021, she was appointed to the board of directors at KWG Resources, an exploration-stage mining company participating in the discovery, delineation and development of chromite deposits in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario.
Ms. Blondin attended Douglas College in British Columbia. She received Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her work with First Nations.