Key Issues


Tobacco-Related Litigation in Canada (2017 Edition)

Holding the tobacco industry accountable for its illegal activities, whether through criminal charges or civil suits, serves a number of public health objectives. These objectives include acting as a deterrent to prevent industry misconduct in the future and affording victims, including governments, the opportunity to recover financial losses caused by misconduct.

In addition to civil suits, the Criminal Code and other legislation offer options for holding the tobacco industry criminally accountable for its behavior. However, to date, charging tobacco companies with criminal offences has not been used as a means of changing corporate behavior and furthering public health objectives. One exception is the criminal charges laid in 2003 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police related to the tobacco smuggling fraud of the early 1990s, charges that have been dropped following the settlements with the major tobacco companies in 2008 and 2010


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