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

‘Serious incident’ sends Abbotsford area worker to hospital

Few details are currently available, but WorkSafeBC says it is investigating

Raj Patara looks to bring ‘positive change’ to Abbotsford school board

Patara says focus should be on transparency, communication and accountability in school district

WATCH: A final salute for outgoing Abbotsford police chief Bob Rich

Changing of the guard ceremony held in Thunderbird Memorial Square Thursday morning

Abbotsford Panthers leap into AAA

Abby senior varsity football team ready for new challenge

House arrest for man who abused disabled Abbotsford woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read