J. Douglas Shanks

Area of Practice

Doug practices corporate and commercial law, real estate law and mining law.

In Doug’s corporate and commercial practice, he provides ongoing advice to many clients in both the private and public sectors.  Doug provides advice in a number of areas including banking, construction, environmental, health care, information technology, natural resources, First Nations, charities and not-for-profit organizations.

Commercial Services

•    Acquisitions
•    First Nation businesses and financing
•    Financing arrangements
•    Joint ventures
•    Licensing and other IT arrangements
•    Sales, distribution and franchise arrangements

Corporate Services

•    Business formation
•    Governance issues
•    Organizational structuring
•    Registration and licensing matters
•    Regulatory compliance
•    Shareholder, partnership and joint venture agreements

Doug’s corporate and commercial practice also includes services in the following areas:

•    Condominiums
•    Trademarks and trade names
•    Technology & Intellectual Property
•    Financial Services
•    Insolvency & Restructuring
•    Tax
•    Mining

The firm’s corporate and commercial lawyers are known for their long-standing client relationships, characterized by a strong dedication to understanding their clients’ businesses and the industries in which they operate.  As a result, their services are responsible, efficient, innovative and results-driven.


Doug is engaged in corporate and commercial law and has been retained regularly in transactions involving the purchase and sale of businesses, incorporations, estates and succession planning.  Doug assists start-up technology companies with corporate structures, intellectual property protection, venture capital and angel investor financing and technology licensing agreements.  He advises on corporate governance issues including shareholders’ agreements and option agreements for directors, officers and employees, joint ventures, shareholder disputes, general business operations and other commercial transactions.

Doug often represents financial institutions with respect to financing and secured loan transactions.  He has been involved in purchase, sale and land development transactions as a real estate lawyer.

With his corporate practice, Doug provides advice in general corporate areas including amalgamations and incorporation of companies. He often prepares and advises commercial contracts, partnership agreements, joint ventures, co-ownership agreements, and share and asset purchase/sale agreements.

In the area of real estate, Doug advises on the purchase, sale and development of properties and, all forms of lease agreements.  He frequently represents financial institutions and businesses in connection with loan transactions secured against real property and other assets.  He assists clients with all types of land development applications including official plan amendments, zoning changes, site plan approvals, subdivisions, severance consents and minor variances.  Doug has appeared at Ontario Municipal Board hearings and before Committees of Adjustment.

Doug’s intellectual property law practice includes advising clients on matters relating to patents, trade marks, copyright, and industrial designs.  He counsels clients on invention patentability and trade mark registrability, and assists clients in the commercialization of their intellectual property through joint ventures and licensing.

Doug has assisted clients in acquiring, protecting, exploiting and enforcing intellectual property rights, including educational institutions, high technology firms, clients in the telecommunications industry, as well as the charitable and not-for-profit sector.

Doug’s practice includes trade-mark licensing, franchising, and advising on privacy law compliance.

Doug advises clients in real estate and condominium law, including developers, buyers, sellers and condominium corporations on issues of corporate governance and operations.  He is the president of the Canadian Condominium Institute - Northwestern Ontario Chapter, and has done presentations at its seminars on condominium matters.

In aboriginal law, Doug’s work has focused on acting for First Nations clients in negotiations or in assisting non-aboriginal clients who want to develop positive, working relationships with aboriginal peoples. 

As part of his aboriginal and commercial practices, Doug has advised First Nations people and companies involved in lending to First Nations.

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Educational Background

•  LL.B. ( University of Western Ontario - 1976)
•  Call to Ontario Bar (Barrister and Solicitor - 1978)
•  University of Windsor – Faculty of Law – Alternate Dispute Resolution Course – 1995
•  University of Windsor – Faculty of Law – Alternate Dispute Resolution Advanced Course - 2000

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•    Director on the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Center Board of Directors, member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Quality Committee
•    Past President of the Canadian Condominium Institute, Northwestern Ontario Chapter, for a period of three years
•    Member of National Angel Capital Organization (NACO)
•    Member of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, 2009 to present
•    Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Thunder Bay Law Association, the Advocates Society and the Canadian Bar Association
•    Member of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals
•    Associate member of the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board
•    Past director of the Thunder Bay Law Association
•    Past member of the Canadian Bar Association, Ontario Council
•    Past Member of the Canadian Tax Foundation
•    Past President and past Director of the Thunder Bay (Port Arthur) Rotary Club
•    Member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Thunder Bay (Port Arthur) Rotary Club
•    Past Sessional Lecturer, Lakehead University’s School of Business Administration, business law
•    Past member of the Consent and Capacity Board
•    Past President and member of Thunder Bay Professional Advisors of Thunder Bay
•    Past member and treasurer of the Lakehead University Foundation

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Community Involvement

Doug was awarded the Thunder Bay Law Association Community Service Award in 2017.

Doug has served as a sessional lecturer with Lakehead University's School of Business Administration and lectures regularly on various topics dealing with franchising for the Federal Business Development Bank, Confederation College, and other community groups. In addition, Doug is a member of the Port Arthur Rotary Club.

Recently, Doug gave a presentation for the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board on the importance of status certificates. He serves as director for the Canadian Condominium Institute, Northwestern Ontario.

Doug spoke at "Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur", a presentation by the Northern Ontario Enterprise Gateway entrepreneur education programing June of 2008. Doug shared his knowledge on topics such as due diligence and how to structure a deal. NOEG has formed angel investor groups in Northern Ontario to facilitate access to equity capital for Northern Ontario businesses. Their web site is available at noeg.ca .

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Additional Information

•    Registered Trademark Agent
•    Speaker on various topics to many community groups, including The Thunder Bay Real Estate Board;
•     “Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur”, presentations for the Northern Ontario Enterprise Gateway entrepreneur education programs;
•     Seminars to Canadian Condominium Institute, Northwestern Ontario Chapter on condominium issues;
•     Presentations to the Thunder Bay Professional Advisors Association on topics of interest to professionals.
•     Seminars to Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund on legal issues of financing.

Doug is actively involved in many community organizations and enjoys cottaging, cross-country skiing and golfing in his spare time.  

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image   Troublesome Tenants in Condominiums

image Business Contracts
image   Importance of Status Certificates

image   Condominium Property Assessments