MONTREAL, March 1st, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - On Friday February 26th, Imperial Tobacco Canada filed legal proceedings against the Government of Quebec, challenging Bill 44, "An Act to bolster tobacco control", which was passed on November 26th, 2015.
"Legal action is not something we want to undertake, nor something we enter into lightly, but Quebec's Bill 44 unjustifiably infringes upon our constitutional rights as a legal company" said Tamara Gitto, Vice President, Legal and External Affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada. "By adding extreme measures at the last minute and without proper consultation, the government has left us with no other choice but to turn to the court to defend our rights."
During the committee's review of Bill 44, a number of additional provisions were introduced and adopted without due consideration given to ensuring that the constitutional rights of those affected by the measures were infringed to the least extent possible. The Bill does not even respect the government's own regulatory impact analysis requirements pursuant to the Politique gouvernementale sur l'allègement règlementaire et administrative.
Bill 44 bans flavoured tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, despite the fact that such a ban is likely to result in the growth of an already-significant illegal cigarette market in Quebec. The bill also imposes unjustified packaging restrictions that go over and above the current Federal regulations.
"Imperial Tobacco Canada recognizes the health risks associated with smoking, and that is why we support responsible, fact-based regulation, especially when it comes to protecting young people," said Ms. Gitto. "However, we will continue to oppose excessive regulation that will not achieve any of the government's stated-objectives and that could actually prove counter-productive."
The tobacco industry is one of the most regulated industries in Canada, at both the Federal and Provincial levels. The industry must comply with over 200 laws and regulations including those that require the 75 per cent graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and laws that see tobacco products hidden from public view at retail outlets all while an illegal traffickers continue to operate with complete disregard for such regulation.
SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada
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