In Canada, Imperial Tobacco Canada was recently charged alongside two other major cigarette companies. Close to 100,000 victims of tobacco-related illnesses must now be compensated. To try and get around paying for the damages, however, multiple appeals are expected, the first of which is an attempt to delay the proceedings.
Victims of tobacco addiction targeted Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco; Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI Macdonald were also accused. In total, the plaintiffs are seeking over $13 billion in damages and interest (the Imperial Tobacco case currently stands at $9.2 billion).
To avoid conviction, the three tobacco companies have been placed under the protection of the LACC. For the time being, the Company Creators Arrangement Act has suspended the proceedings, meaning that for now, victims will not be paid any damages.
A potential first step before the Supreme Court
This record conviction is a major first step in the fight against Big Tobacco. But it is likely that the companies accused will do everything in their power to delay payments. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of many new legal battles.
A recent Imperial Tobacco Canada press release specified that the company hopes “to resolve all tobacco-related disputes in Canada.” While the recent judgment remains upheld, this may change in the coming weeks. Currently, all three companies in question can still continue their business unimpeded.
For Big Tobacco, Canada’s supreme court is a last resort. Imperial Tobacco must now present a risky line of defense: prove that smokers are fully aware of the risks of smoking, an argument that two Canadian courts have already rejected…