Media Advisory - Foreign tobacco giants want out of Ontario healthcare cost recovery lawsuit
Ontario Court of Appeal to hear arguments November 5
TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Increasingly the tobacco industry has faced lawsuits that aim to hold the industry responsible for its actions. Governments across Canada have filed lawsuits to recoup tobacco illness-related healthcare costs. On Monday, November 5, tobacco giants British American Tobacco and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company will go before the Ontario Court of Appeal seeking to be removed as defendants in the Ontario Government's healthcare cost recovery lawsuit.
In 2009, the Ontario Government filed a $50 billion lawsuit against the tobacco industry in order to recover past and ongoing healthcare costs due to tobacco-related illness. Subsequently, British American Tobacco, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and related companies brought motions to be removed as defendants in this lawsuit. In January of this year, the Ontario Superior Court dismissed these motions. The companies are now making their case to the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Smoking and tobacco use is responsible for 30 per cent of all cancer deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancer deaths, which amounts to approximately 13,000 deaths in Ontario each year. As leading tobacco control advocates, the Canadian Cancer Society wants to see successful completion of the cost recovery lawsuit to recover billions of dollars of healthcare costs associated with smoking.
"Although the Canadian Cancer Society is not a party in the lawsuit, we have been following the developments and would like to see the parent tobacco companies held accountable for decades of wrongful behaviour," says Rob Cunningham, lawyer and Senior Policy Analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Next week, the hearings are set to take place from November 5 to 7 in courtroom one at the Ontario Court of Appeal, Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto. Hearings will commence each day at 10:30 AM.
- British American Tobacco (based in the U.K.) is the parent company of Canada's largest tobacco company, Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, based in the U.S. and was the parent company of RJR-Macdonald (now JTI-Macdonald) until 1999.
- Across Canada, nine out of ten provinces have filed healthcare cost recovery lawsuits against the tobacco industry. The tenth province, Nova Scotia, has announced its intention to do so.
- Similar state government healthcare cost recovery lawsuits in the United States have disclosed secret industry documents and resulted in out-of-court settlements of US$245 billion payable over 25 years.
- Smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Ontario.
Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society lawyer and Senior Policy Analyst, will attend the appeal hearings and will be available for comment on the case.
About the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division
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)For further information:
or to book an interview opportunity, please contact:
Camille Beaubien, 416 323-7023, or Rob Cunningham, 613 565-2522, ext. 4981