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Donald B. Johnston



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Admitted to the Ontario Bar: 1978

Donald B. Johnston is Co-Chair of the firm’s Privacy & Data Security Team, Co-leader of the Technology Team, as well as a member of the Intellectual Property, Corporate/Commercial, Communications and Mining Groups.


Don is a well-known corporate-commercial/IP lawyer with broad experience in technology of all kinds, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, procurement, privacy/data protection and health law.

A list of the areas in which Don regularly provides strategic legal advice is as follows:

Technology Transactions
Over two decades of expertise in technology procurements, licensing and related transactions (both information technology and biotech)

Involved in major technology projects (including nuclear and oil and gas), acquisitions, financing and development projects in both Canada and the United States

Acted for numerous technology developers, including start-ups and mature companies

Negotiating and settling data center agreements, including cloud services, colocation agreements, service level agreements and security standards

Intellectual Property
Advising on commercial exploitation of intellectual property, including development, protection and licensing, financing, joint ventures and distribution arrangements

Extensive experience in procurement (government and private sector) of goods, services and construction, including advising on dispute settlement

Mergers and Acquisitions
Negotiating, settling, performing the necessary due diligence and closing of mergers and acquisitions, both share and asset transactions, of companies of all kinds, public and private, technology, manufacturing, power generation, services

Providing strategic advice in relation to mergers and acquisitions

Advising on aircraft acquisition, sale, financing and chartering of jets, conventional fixed wing craft and rotorcraft

Privacy/Data Protection
Advising on privacy and data protection, privacy policies and terms of use

Advising on data breach requirements

Advising on health law, health informatics, health care privacy, biotech and pharmaceuticals law

Advising on electronic medical records and hospital information systems

Advising on hospital equipment and services acquisition, including RFPs and other forms of procurement

Renewable energy, e-commerce, outsourcing/services, strategic alliances/teaming arrangements

Special Designations

Honorary Consul of Belgium in Toronto

Recommended in The Legal 500 Canada for his expertise in the practice area of Technology, Media and Telecoms

Recognized as a leader in Who's Who Legal Telecommunications Media & Technology: Information Technology and Who's Who Legal: Canada

Named as a top practitioner in the Legal Media Group Guide to the World's Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the fields of Information Technology Law and Technology Law

Appears in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading practitioner in the area of Computer & IT Law and Technology Transactions

Listed in Lexpert's Leading Canadian Lawyers in Global Mining Special Edition

Teaching Engagements

Don has engaged in a great deal of teaching, including as:

- Part-time instructor in board level management, Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto.

- Guest lecturer in intellectual property in the context of M&A transactions, Schulich School of Business, York University

- Guest lecturer at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, Financial Services Compliance Administration course

- Lecturer at events for the Canadian IT Law Association (IT.Can)

Don has lectured extensively on outsourcing, technology law, e-health law, procurement, privacy and data security.

MembershipsCanadian Bar Association, Business Law Section
Ontario Bar Association
Canadian IT Law Association (IT.Can), Past President (2006 - 2008), Past Treasurer and Co-Founder
International Bar Association, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alternative and New Law Business Structures Committee
Toronto Computer Lawyers' Group

Professional ActivitiesAssociation of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario, Member of Council, former member of Executive Committee and member of Discipline Committee
CORE Biofuel Inc., Business Advisor, Board of Directors
Skymeter Corporation, Former Chairman, Board of Directors

EducationOntario Bar Admission, 1978
Juris Doctor, Osgoode Hall Law School, 1976
B.Com., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1973