The province of British Columbia recently brought an action against Philip Morris International and other tobacco manufacturers to recover healthcare costs relating to the treatment of diseases caused or contributed to by exposure to a tobacco product pursuant to the Tobacco Damages and Healthcare Costs Recovery Act. The act's constitutionality had previously been upheld (British Columbia v Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd, 2005 SCC 49).

On 13 July 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada held that British Columbia could not be compelled to produce a collection of anonymised healthcare databases that it intended to use to prove causation and damages (British Columbia v Philip Morris International, Inc, 2018 SCC 36). The court held that the anonymised databases fell within the scope of a subsection of the act that excluded from production "health care records and documents of particular individual insured persons or the documents relating to the provision of health care benefits for particular individual insured persons".

For further information on this topic please contact Urszula Wojtyra at Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh by telephone (+1 416 593 5514) or email (uawojtyra@smart-biggar.ca). The Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh website can be accessed at www.smart-biggar.ca.

This article was first published by the International Law Office, a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. Register for a free subscription.