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November 25, 2009
For immediate release

Province Introduces Legislation that would Allow Action to be Taken Against Tobacco Firms

Office of the Attorney General

A bill that will allow the province to take action against manufacturers and promoters of tobacco products was introduced in the Prince Edward Island legislature today.

“In the Speech from the Throne, this government made a commitment to introduce this legislation,” said Attorney General Gerard Greenan. “Essentially, the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act will allow us to take action against tobacco firms for past health care costs that have resulted from the use of tobacco.”

Upon proclamation, it will give Prince Edward Island a two-year window of opportunity to bring an action against the tobacco companies. Normally, the Statute of Limitations would not allow the province to recover costs for harms that occurred more than six years ago. With this enabling legislation, there is no time limitation on how far back damages can be claimed. “It’s important to keep in mind that this legislation has a proclamation provision,” said Minister Greenan, “which means we can introduce and pass the Act immediately, but not proclaim it until some future date, when we have made a final decision on whether or not we wish to proceed with an action.”

The PEI Act is based on the British Columbia Act which was passed almost ten years ago. The tobacco companies have challenged the constitutional validity of the B.C. Act, but the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the legislation. “By using British Columbia as a model, we know that the principles of the Act have already been tested by this country’s highest court,” said Minister Greenan.

Media Contact: Joanne MacKinnon
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