Quebec Class Action Appeal

Quebec residents filed two separate class action lawsuits against the Canadian tobacco companies of British American Tobacco ("BAT"), Philip Morris International ("PMI"), and Japan Tobacco International ("JTI") ("tobacco companies"). The first class involved Quebec residents who had lung cancer, throat cancer, or emphysema. The second class involved Quebec residents addicted to nicotine. The court found that the tobacco companies caused injury, failed to inform customers of the risks and dangers of its products, and violated Quebec law.

On March 1, 2019, the Quebec Court of Appeals ("the Court") unanimously upheld the lower Quebec Superior Court decision and found that the tobacco companies intentionally misled consumers about the dangers associated with their products for more than 50 years. The Court upheld the lower court's decision, but made technical corrections, that the appellants pay moral damages to members of the Blais action, as well as punitive damages to both classes, with interest and the additional indemnity provided by law. The appellants’ liability was based on private law of general application (Civil Code of Lower Canada and Civil Code of Quebec ), the Tobacco-related Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Consumer Protection Act.

All three tobacco companies have indicated that they will likely appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

For the earlier decision, see: JTI, et al. v. Letourneau, et al., No 500-06-000076-980 and No 500-06-000070-983, (Quebec 2015).


BAT, PMI, JTI, et al. v. Letourneau, et al., No 500-09-025385-154, 500-09-025386-152 et 500-09-025387-150, (Quebec Court of Appeals 2019).

  • Canada
  • Mar 1, 2019
  • Court of Appeal of Québec



  • Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited
  • JTI-Macdonald Corp.
  • Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.


  • Cecilia Letourneau
  • Conseil Quebecois Sur Le Tabac et La Sante
  • Jean-Yves Blais

Legislation Cited

Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms

Quebec Consumer Protection Act

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product