Media Advisory

February 22, 2011

Supreme Court to consider whether Ottawa shares responsibility for tobacco harms.

On the morning of Thursday, February 24, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada will begin its review of decisions of the British Columbia Court of Appeal concerning the issue of the federal government as "third party" to two ground-breaking trials against tobacco companies.

These cases, linked to the relevant Supreme Court Factums, are:

In December 2009, the B.C. Court of Appeal had partially supported the industry's view that the federal government could be brought into its defense in both the B.C. government and Knight cases. This decision was appealed by both parties.

The companies have made similar efforts to engage the federal government in other lawsuits, and the Supreme Court decision is expected to apply to other provincial efforts to sue the companies. Because of Quebec's different legal system, the federal government is already party to the two class action suits against the companies in that province.

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