A smoker puts out a cigarette in a public ash tray in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Supreme Court of Canada rules against tobacco firm in health data privacy case

The Supreme Court of Canada says British Columbia does not have to give a tobacco company access to detailed provincial health databases.

The Supreme Court of Canada says British Columbia does not have to give a tobacco company access to detailed provincial health databases to ensure the fairness of a multibillion-dollar damages trial.

In a ruling today, the high court says the province cannot legally allow Philip Morris International to see raw data from the information banks.

The decision is the latest development in a 17-year-old effort by B.C. to recoup smoking-related health-care expenditures from tobacco companies.

It could have a countrywide ripple effect, as all 10 provinces have filed legal suits seeking a total of more than $120 billion in damages from tobacco firms.

Some companies agreed to B.C.’s offer of access to health databases that include aggregate data but not individual-level files that the province argued could compromise privacy, even with personal identifiers removed.

Philip Morris, however, took exception and successfully challenged the province’s stance in the B.C. Supreme Court and the decision was upheld by the B.C. Court of Appeal, prompting the province to take its case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Related: Cost of substance use in Canada tops $38 billion, with booze and tobacco on top

Related: Drone delivery of drugs and tobacco intercepted at B.C. prison

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man pulls out gun at Keremeos gas station

RCMP arrested an Olalla man around 10 a.m. Sunday after he pulled a gun earlier that morning.

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

Godsmack and Volbeat coming to Penticton

Tour includes a stop at the South Okanagan Events Centre

Sagmoen back in Vernon court this week

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Cold case files: Murdered woman still unidentified after 44 years

Penticton RCMP releasing info on historical missing person and found human remains investigations

Your morning news in 90: Dec. 10, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Protesters take to Highway 1 over migration issues

Five people protested Canada’s plans to sign the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration

Break-in at home of detained Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on America’s request

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Winter rolls into the Okanagan to stay

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

Macron addresses France amid protests; is it too late?

Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday.

CUPE calls off Flair Airlines job action citing job security concerns

The union says it’s going to challenge Flair’s move at the Canada Industrial Relations Board before proceeding with any job action.

Most Read