Ontario - launches lawsuit against Canadian tobacco manufacturers..

October 1, 2009 - The Ontario government yesterday, September 29th launched a $50 billion lawsuit against Canadian tobacco manufacturers allegedly to recover public money spent on health care made necessary by tobacco use. (Back on March 6, 2009 we reported that Ontario is looking to become the latest jurisdiction to go after tobacco companies for misrepresenting the health risks of smoking and costing the province billions of dollars.)

Attorney general, Chris Bentley, said in a press release that Ontario was ‘joining British Columbia and New Brunswick in initiating a lawsuit to recover health care costs from tobacco companies’.

The Ontario government released a statement reminding residents, “Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the province, killing 13,000 people a year - or 36 per day - and costs taxpayers $1.6 billion annually.”

Imperial calls lawsuit 'hypocritical' Imperial Tobacco Canada reacted angrily to the news of the lawsuit, saying it was stunned that a province in which close to 50 per cent of tobacco products purchased were illicit was targeting the legal industry while continuing to turn a blind eye to illicit tobacco sales. (Government of Ontario lawsuit is "hypocrisy", says Imperial Tobacco Canada, Newswire.ca, 9/29/2009)

Douglas Lennox, a Toronto lawyer who has been involved in several lawsuits against tobacco companies, told CBC News that Ontario's case may never go before a judge. That's because British Columbia's lawsuit against the tobacco companies is already well underway, with the trial scheduled to begin a little over a year from now.
Lennox: "If B.C. can win their trial, then you'll see a resolution for all of the other provinces shortly thereafter."

References: Ont. launches $50B tobacco lawsuit, The Canadian Press, 9/29/2009; Tobacco Companies Face £28 Billion Ontario Lawsuit, by Reuters, 9/29/2009.