Knight v. Imperial Tobacco Canada

A class action lawsuit by buyers of light cigarettes against Imperial Tobacco Canada included the government of Canada as a third party. Imperial claimed that the Canadian government played a critical role in encouraging smokers to switch to light and mild cigarettes by developing and promoting strains of tobacco used in light and mild cigarettes and dictating the warnings printed on the cigarette packages. A lower court ruled that Canada was immune from liability and struck the third party claims against it. In this appeals court decision, the court reinstated a portion of the third party claims against the Canadian government for negligent misrepresentation (e.g., claims to the public about the safety of light and mild cigarettes) and the negligent development of light and mild tobacco strains. However, the appeals court agreed with the lower court’s decision striking the claims (1) that Imperial Tobacco it is entitled to contribution and indemnity from Canada on the basis of the consumer protection law and (2) that Canada owned a duty of care to Imperial with respect to the design of the tobacco strains used in light and mild cigarettes.


Knight v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, 2009 BCCA 541 (2009).

  • Canada
  • Dec 8, 2009
  • Court of Appeal for British Columbia


Plaintiff Kenneth Knight


  • Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada
  • Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited

Legislation Cited

Tobacco and Vaping Products Act

Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act of British Columbia, 2004

Negligence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996

Trade Practices Act of British Columbia, 1996

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product