Supreme Court of Canada won't hear big-tobacco appeal over health costs

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada says it won’t hear an appeal in a case involving six big foreign tobacco companies trying to get out of a lawsuit over health-related costs.

The Ontario government is seeking to recoup billions of dollars in health-care costs attributed to tobacco-related illness.

The companies argued they were foreign entities and the Ontario courts didn’t have jurisdiction to determine claims against them.

British American Tobacco (Investment) Ltd., B.A.T. Industries PLC, British American Tobacco PLC, Carreras Rothmans Ltd., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International Inc. were turned down by the Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The province’s lawsuit stems from a 2009 law that gave Ontario a statutory right to sue manufacturers over tobacco-related health costs.

As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for refusing to hear the appeal.