LaPointe was born in Toronto, where he was raised by a single mother in what he describes as poverty conditions. He was educated at New Toronto Secondary School and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute where he earned a Bachelors in Journalism. In his teens he hosted a community channel television program about music. At Ryerson he was station manager at campus station CKLN-FM.
He started at The Canadian Press as a general assignment reporter in its Toronto bureau in 1980, then moved to Ottawa in 1981, where he held roles as a parliamentary reporter, a beat specialist in communications and transportation, and a columnist on fitness. He moved back to Toronto in 1984 as CP's reporter on broadcasting, then moved into management in 1986 as lifestyles editor. He returned to Ottawa in 1987 as the bureau's news editor, then was recruited in 1989 to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a host on CBC Newsworld at its launch. He returned to CP in 1991 as the Ottawa bureau chief and continued as a weekly CBC Newsworld host, holding both roles until 1995. He commuted to Toronto as the CP General News Editor in Toronto in 1995, then left CP to join Southam News in Ottawa as its editor in chief and general manager.
He was recruited by Southam to move to Hamilton as editor-in-chief of the Hamilton Spectator from 1997 until 1998. While at the Spectator, he helped prototype a national newspaper that would later be called National Post, and he was hired as its founding executive editor. He then returned to the Spectator in 1999 to serve as editor and associate publisher. He was recruited to lead CTV News, where he was its senior vice-president from 2000-2002. He then joined Toronto Star as an advisor to the publisher in 2003 before moving to Vancouver to be managing editor of the Vancouver Sun until 2010.
He was recruited in 2010 to be ombudsman for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He remained in the office, diving his time between Vancouver and Toronto, until 2013. He was subsequently executive director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen. In 2014 he joined Self-Counsel Press, a leading Canadian publisher of self-help financial and legal books, as its publisher and editor-in-chief. He joined Business in Vancouver Media Group and Roundhouse Radio in 2015.
He has held part-time roles as a music writer, first for Record Week Magazine, then as the Canadian correspondent for CashBox, a music industry publication, from 1980 to 1983. He then joined Billboard Magazine as its Canadian editor from 1983 to 1991.
In July 2014, he was chosen by the Non-Partisan Association, a municipal political party in Vancouver, to be the party's nominee for Mayor of Vancouver in the November 15, 2014 municipal election. LaPointe received 40% of the vote (73,443 votes), coming in second behind incumbent mayor Gregor Robertson who received 46%.
Following his defeat, LaPointe said he intends to put politics “in the rear view mirror” and is uninterested in running in a future election, saying “I recognize it comes with a physical, emotional toll, and I’m not sure I want to experience that any time soon.”
LaPointe has been an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism since 2006. He teaches ethics and leadership., He is the host of a two-hour weeknight radio program and a one-hour weekday Business in Vancouver program on Vancouver's Roundhouse Radio. He is the vice-president, audience and business development, at the Business in Vancouver Media Group.