Ontario given go-ahead to sue foreign tobacco companies in $50 billion
TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Superior Court has ruled that
foreign parent tobacco companies must remain as defendants in the
Ontario Government's $50 billion medicare cost-recovery lawsuit against
the tobacco industry. This means the Ontario government lawsuit may
proceed against foreign tobacco companies in addition to their Canadian
subsidiaries. The lawsuit was initially launched in 2009 to recover
health care costs due to tobacco-related illnesses, however several of
the companies named in the court case applied to be removed from the
lawsuit. With this ruling, that application was rejected.
Foreign companies, such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris
International, had brought a motion seeking to be removed as
defendants. The ruling on the motion was rendered earlier in the week,
and was announced today by Ontario Attorney General John Gerretsen.
"This is great news and a significant defeat for the tobacco industry,"
says Rob Cunningham, lawyer and Senior Policy Analyst for the Canadian
Cancer Society. "The foreign parent tobacco companies had a key role in
causing the tobacco epidemic in Canada, including the cover-up of the
health effects of smoking. These companies should be held accountable
for their actions. Moreover, the foreign companies have the ability to
pay the significant damages being sought by Ontario and other
All ten provinces, as well as the Northwest Territories and Nunavut,
have adopted legislation to facilitate a medicare cost recovery lawsuit
against the tobacco industry. Four provinces - British Columbia,
Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador - have filed
actual lawsuits, while all six remaining provinces as well as Nunavut
have announced their intention to file a lawsuit.
Attempts by the foreign companies to be removed as defendants in the
British Columbia and New Brunswick lawsuits have previously been
dismissed by courts in those provinces.
As part of its mission to eradicate cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society
is a leader in advocating for public policies that will provide a
healthier future for Canadians. Tobacco control is a key issue for the
Society because it is estimated that smoking causes 30% of all cancer
deaths and is related to more than 85% of lung cancer cases.
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to
prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join
the fight! Go to fightback.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer,
visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Canadian Cancer Society
613-565-2522 ext. 305