Nova Scotia Begins Process to Recover Health-care Costs from Tobacco Industry

Department of Justice

June 30, 2011 11:09 AM

Nova Scotia is taking steps to hold the tobacco industry accountable for past actions that led to increased tobacco use in the province.

Nova Scotia and Manitoba are working together and plan to pursue legal action against the tobacco industry, said Justice Minister Ross Landry today, June 30.

"This is about holding the industry accountable for illegal activities that led to increased tobacco use in our province," said Mr. Landry. "We are working with Manitoba to find the right law firm that can help our provinces recover health-care costs incurred over a period of 30 years from the 1950s to the 1980s."

Nova Scotia and Manitoba intend to join other provinces already actively pursuing litigation, including New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Quebec and Alberta have also announced their intention to pursue lawsuits.

"This is a commitment in Nova Scotia's 2011 Tobacco Control Strategy, an important step forward in our long-term efforts to reduce tobacco use among our populations and hold the tobacco industry accountable," said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. "I applaud Manitoba for joining us in pursuing action and those provinces before us who have led the way."

The successful firm must have the demonstrated skill, experience and resources necessary to pursue this kind of complex litigation. They will also be expected to take the case on a contingency basis, which means the firm only gets paid if the provinces are successful in recovering health-care costs.

The Nova Scotia Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act gives the province the authority to sue the tobacco industry for fraud, deceit, conspiracy and other illegal acts that occurred from the 1950s to the 1980s. The act received royal assent in December 2005.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Nova Scotia is taking steps to hold the tobacco industry

accountable for past actions that led to increased tobacco use

in the province.

     Justice Minister Ross Landry says the province will work

with Manitoba to hire a law firm to help the provinces recover

health-care costs.

     New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland

and Labrador are already pursuing litigation, and Quebec and

Alberta have announced their intention to pursue lawsuits.

     Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald applauded the

other provinces for their efforts to hold the tobacco industry

accountable. She says taking this step is a commitment in Nova

Scotia's 2011 Tobacco Control Strategy.

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Media Contact: Ross McLaren
              Department of Justice
              902-424-3313
              E-mail: mclarenr@gov.ns.ca