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

Update: Search called off for missing person in Jones Lake Area

Hope Search and Rescue crews re-started search at 6 a.m. this morning

Habitat for Humanity says it owes no money to former CEO

Upper Fraser Valley branch responds to wrongful dismissal lawsuit

UPDATED: Police call off search for body under Agassiz Rosedale Bridge

Swimmers reported discovering body two days ago

Garbage truck and van collide on 6 Ave.

No serious injuries in mid-day collision

A man around town: Trevor McDonald

If it’s musical or entertaining and in Chilliwack, Trevor McDonald’s probably had a hand in it

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Granfondo gets underway

Organizers issue hot weather warning to riders

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

Most Read