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 in his 60s dies in ATV accident near Cook Creek

BC Coroners Service investigating the death

Qualicum Beach coffee roasters capture silver medal at North American competition

Java masters: French Press Coffee Roasters second in ‘milk-based’ category

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Close to 14 acres of estuary lands protected from development

The land, adjacent to French Creek Estuary, has been designated as parkland

UPDATE: B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Dog killed by gunshot north of Courtenay

Police seeking help from public after dog found dead near mouth of Oyster River on Nov. 27

B.C. company facing several charges in 2017 chicken abuse case

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

Trapped Vancouver Island crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Woman allegedly responsible for multiple break-ins arrested in Nanaimo

Jennifer Perusini, 35, to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on Friday

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

High streamflow advisory in effect across the Island

River Forecast Centre issues advisory as Pacific storms batter the coast

Most Read