Fedeli was born and raised in North Bay to Lena (née Fava) Fedeli and Hub Fedeli. Fedeli is of Italian ancestry and maintains close ties to the North Bay Italian-Canadian community. After completing high school at Scollard Hall he attended Nipissing University for business and Conestoga College where he studied Visual Communications. Fedeli and his wife Patty (née Kelly) reside in Corbeil, Ontario.
In 1978 Fedeli returned to North Bay and opened Fedeli Advertising, at the time the only full-service marketing agency in Ontario north of Barrie. In 1989 Profit - the magazine for Small Business ranked the firm 34th on its list of 50 Best Places to Work in Canada. Fedeli was also recognized as one of Canada's Most Successful Entrepreneurs in an episode of MoneyMakers, hosted by Everett Banning. Fedeli Advertising was sold in 1992.
Fedeli served 10 terms on the board of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, including as president in 1986. He has also served as director with Global Vision and the provincial government's Northern Businesses Support System. When the federal government moved 414 Squadron from Canadian Forces Base North Bay in 1992, most of the facilities were deemed surplus. While part of the complex was demolished, some of the base’s airfield facilities were sold to the non-profit Air Base Property Corporation in 1996, of which Fedeli served as the dollar-a-year chairman from inception until 2002. This period included a lawsuit against the Canadian government which resulted in a $3 million award to ABPC. The court settlement allowed the corporation to repair, enhance and market the property, as well as reimburse Fedeli for expenses he had incurred personally to keep ABPC alive. In large part because of his work with the ABPC Fedeli was named North Bay’s Citizen of the Year in 1999. Fedeli has also received the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship in 1999, and was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2002.
In 1992 Fedeli served as co-chair of the Nipissing University expansion fundraising campaign, contributing $250,000 to fund the Vittorio Fedeli Business Centre, named after his grandfather. At the time it was the single largest donation the university had ever received and represented a significant portion of the $3.7 million raised during the campaign. Subsequently, Canadore College enlisted Fedeli to serve as chair of their campaign to fund a School of Aviation. A donation of $100,000 was made by Fedeli to construct a lecture hall named after his father. Fedeli would later donate an additional $100,000 to Canadore saying he relied on the school as a source of staff when he started his advertising firm.
During the 2009 effort to raise funds for the Harris Learning Library, Fedeli again made a donation to Nipissing University and Canadore College of $250,000. He made a substantial contribution to a North Bay General Hospital campaign of $150,000.
As mayor of North Bay, Fedeli donated his salary of approximately $50,000 to a different charity each year.
In 2003 Fedeli made his first run for elected office. He was swept into the mayor’s chair running on his ‘2020 Vision’ campaign platform with 75% of the vote, easily defeating three challengers including former deputy mayor Lynne Bennett.
Fedeli attempted to govern according to a 'three-legged stool' approach where decision-making was to take into account financial, social and environmental considerations. However it was his focus on fiscal prudence that led him into frequent conflict with Monique Smith, the local MPP and member of the ruling Liberal government. Fedeli and Smith sparred over the level of funding the city received from the provincial government, specifically its share of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund.
In an effort to raise revenues and increase residential development in the city, Fedeli undertook the sale of publicly owned lands. While this led to 115 parcels of property bringing in about $8 million, public outcry forced Fedeli and the city council to back down on some offerings.
During his first term Fedeli served on the Northern Development Council of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, a committee of Northern Ontario politicians which advises the ministry on economic development issues.
In the 2006 mayoral election Fedeli was challenged by Stan Lawlor. Despite Lawlor’s high profile as a former mayor and candidate for the Liberal Party of Ontario, Fedeli was re-elected with more than two-thirds of the vote.
In 2009 Fedeli launched an effort to win exemption for Canadian businesses from the Buy American provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Fedeli's time as mayor was also marked by investments in social housing - the only municipality to do so, and development of a methane-powered generation facility at the municipal landfill, also unique among communities the size of North Bay. Total building starts hit a record $92 million in 2009, compared with a 10-year average before Fedeli was elected mayor of $35 million. Before the end of Fedeli's second term the city's credit rating with Moody had jumped five points to AA1, their highest rating.
On February 1, 2010, Fedeli announced he would not seek a third term as mayor in the October municipal election, keeping a promise from his first campaign in 2003 that he would only serve two terms.
In 2008, Fedeli was asked by First Nations reserves in Northern Ontario to have North Bay to help out due to floods and people without proper clothing and shoes on reserves. Fedeli rejected the request and said no.
As part of Fedeli's farewell to North Bay he donated his entire salary of $50,000 totaling $350,000 to charity.
On January 13, 2011, Fedeli announced his candidacy to be the Progressive Conservative candidate in the provincial election scheduled for October 10, 2011. The only other candidate at the time was Bill Vrebosch, mayor of East Ferris, who had run and lost against Monique Smith by a 357-vote margin in the 2007 Ontario election. Vrebosch dropped out of the race soon after, citing family health concerns, and Fedeli was acclaimed the PC candidate on February 26, 2010. He won the seat on election day over Liberal candidate Catherine Whiting, New Democratic candidate Henri Giroux and Green Party candidate Scott Haig with more than half the valid votes cast.
PC Leader Tim Hudak named Fedeli as energy critic and critic of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines on October 25, 2011. However after Frank Klees abandoned his bid for Speaker, Hudak rewarded him with the Transportation portfolio, which was previously the responsibility of Norm Miller. Miller was then appointed critic for Northern Development and Mines.
Fedeli's coverage of the Energy portfolio coincided with growing opposition in rural Ontario to the governing Liberals' Green Energy Act, and the controversy over the Liberal's cancellation of gas-fired electricity generating stations in Oakville and Mississauga. Fedeli was named PC lead on the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, investigating the circumstances surrounding the gas plant cancellations.
On June 6, 2013 Fedeli and fellow Progressive Conservative Rob Leone wrote to OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis asking him to order an investigation into "theft of taxpayer property and breach of public trust" in relation to the deletion and removal of emails from government computers.
On March 23, 2012, the province announced it would be selling the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. As the ONTC is headquartered in North Bay, and several hundred workers are employed within Nipissing, the issue was a significant concern in the riding.
The divestiture announcement was largely unanticipated as then-Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty had signed a pledge in 2002 to not privatize the corporation, while in the 2011 election the Progressive Conservatives had committed to transfer oversight from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to the Ministry of Transportation, and expand the commission's capital spending abilities by giving it access to infrastructure spending.
In April Fedeli revealed that the ONTC pension plan was underfunded by $150 million and challenged Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci to clarify the status of ONTC retirees' pensions and benefits.
One of the charges levelled at the government over their handling of the ONTC file was that there had been a lack of consultation. In an effort to draw a contrast with this, Fedeli and his caucus colleague Norm Miller undertook a tour of northern communities to meet with various stakeholders in June 2012. The same month, Fedeli claimed the government would realize 'no savings' with the divestiture of the ONTC.
With the election of Kathleen Wynne to the leadership of the Liberal Party of Ontario a new cabinet was sworn in on February 11, 2013. Michael Gravelle took over the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines file and soon announced there would be no dramatic change in direction for the ONTC. On March 6, 2013, at Fedeli's request the Standing Committee on Public Accounts asked the auditor general to investigate the divestiture of the ONTC. On May 1, Fedeli claimed he had numbers showing the ONTC divestment would cost the government $530 million more than earlier estimates. Soon thereafter, Gravelle disclosed to a meeting of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities in Parry Sound that "(w)e need to be open to options other than divestment", a shift in direction that he attributed to feedback he had received since taking over the Northern Development and Mines portfolio.
On September 18, 2013 the Standing Committee on Estimates approved a motion brought forward by Fedeli ordering the release of Ministry of Finance Documents relating to the ONTC in the months prior to the 2011 election.
On September 10, 2013 it was announced that Fedeli would be replacing Peter Shurman as Tory finance critic.
On September 24, 2014 Fedeli announced his intention to run for the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the 2015 leadership election.
Fedeli dropped out of the race on February 4, 2015 and endorsed Christine Elliott, saying "As you know I’m a numbers guy and a pragmatist. There are two numbers you have to look at in any leadership campaign – memberships and money. I’ve added up the numbers and simply put, I don’t see them being there for me to win this leadership race."Member, Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
PC Lead, Standing Committee on Justice
Critic, Energy (October 26, 2011 - September 30, 2013)
Critic, Finance (September 10, 2013 – present)