Canadian Cancer Society applauds decision allowing British American Tobacco
and other foreign companies to be held to account
Supreme Court of Canada refuses to hear appeal by foreign tobacco companies in
Ontario medicare cost recovery lawsuit
TORONTO, Dec. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court of Canada today refused to
hear an appeal by foreign tobacco companies seeking to be removed as
defendants in Ontario's$50 billion medicare cost recovery lawsuit against the
tobacco industry. The foreign companies were attempting to overturn a May 30,
2013, judgment of the Ontario Court of Appeal that had dismissed their motion
to be removed from the lawsuit.
"This decision is significant in terms of a victory for the Ontario government
and a defeat for the tobacco industry," says Rob Cunningham, lawyer and Senior
Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. "Foreign parent tobacco companies
such as British American Tobacco must be held to account before the courts for
their role in causing an epidemic of disease and death."
"It is essential that these giant foreign parent tobacco companies be
defendants," adds Cunningham. "The companies have internal documents that
provide valuable evidence of what tobacco companies knew regarding the effects
of tobacco use on health, and when they knew it. The companies also have very
deep pockets that would allow the Ontario Government to collect far more in
damages than could be obtained from the Canadian subsidiaries alone."
Today's judgment continues a trend. Courts in British Columbia, Saskatchewan,
Quebec and New Brunswick have also rejected attempts by foreign companies to
be removed as defendants. In the British Columbia and New Brunswick cases, the
Supreme Court of Canada also refused to hear appeals sought by the tobacco
industry. In Saskatchewan, the Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the tobacco
industry motion. In Quebec, the Quebec Superior Court dismissed the tobacco
industry motion, and the Quebec Court of Appeal refused to hear an appeal.
The main issue at stake in the medicare cost recovery lawsuit is if the
tobacco industry will be held liable to pay damages for tobacco-related health
care costs. A trial date for this lawsuit has not been set in Ontario or other
In addition to today's legal victory, the government recently introduced Bill
131, which will ban flavoured tobacco products, require patios to be
smoke-free, prohibit tobacco sales on university/college campuses, and
implement other measures in Ontario.
"We applaud the Ontario Government not only for its ongoing medicare cost
recovery lawsuit but also for bringing forward strengthened amendments to the
Smoke-free Ontario Act," says Rowena Pinto, VP, Public Affairs, Canadian
Cancer Society, Ontario Division. "On the momentum of this important step
forward on cost recovery, we urge all political parties to support adoption as
soon as possible of this important bill to reduce youth smoking."
About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of
volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of
the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more
about cancer, visit our website, www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free,
bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)
Rob Cunningham Senior Policy Analyst Canadian Cancer Society 613-565-2522 ext.
Christine Koserski Communications Specialist Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario
Division 416-323-7030 email@example.com
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-0- Dec/19/2013 16:13 GMT
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