RJR-MacDonald Inc., et al. v. Attorney General of Canada

Tobacco companies challenged the constitutionality of the Tobacco Products Control Act, which regulates the advertisement, promotion, and sale of tobacco products and requires health warnings to be placed on the packages. The companies claimed that the Parliament had acted outside the scope of its power in enacting the Act and that the Act violated petitioners' freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court held that the enactment of the legislation was constitutionally within the power of the Parliament, but that sections relating to advertising, trademark use, and unattributed health warnings violated the right to freedom of expression. The Court reasoned that there were several less intrusive alternative measures Parliament could have enacted to achieve its objectives. Because sections relating to retail displays and sponsorships could not be severed from the rest, the Court held all sections unenforceable. The Court ruled in favor of the tobacco companies.


RJR-MacDonald Inc. v. Attorney General of Canada, [1994] 1 S.C.R. 311, Supreme Court of Canada (1994).

  • Canada
  • Sep 21, 1995
  • Supreme Court of Canada



  • Imperial Tobacco Ltd.
  • RJR-MacDonald Inc.

Defendant Attorney General of Canada

Third Party

  • Attorney General of Quebec (Mis en cause)
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Canadian Council on Smoking and Health
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

Legislation Cited

Act Respecting the Protection of Non-Smokers in Certain Public Places, R.S.Q., c. P-38.01

Act to amend the Excise Act, the Customs Act and the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act, S.C. 1994, c. 37.

Act to Protect the Health of Non-smokers, S.M. 1990, c. S125.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Minors Tobacco Act, R.S.S. 1965, c. 381.

Tobacco Access Act, S.N.S. 1993, c. 14.

Tobacco Control Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, c. 10.

Tobacco Control Act, S.N. 1993, c. T-4.1.

Tobacco Product Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 403 [am. S.B.C. 1992, c. 81].

Tobacco Products Control Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. 14 (4th Supp.), S.C. 1988, c. 20

Tobacco Products Control Act, S.C. 1988, c. 20

Tobacco Products Control Regulations, amendment, SOR/93-389, s. 11.

Tobacco Sales Act, S.N.B. 1993, c. T-6.1.

Tobacco Sales to Minors Act, S.P.E.I. 1991, c. 44.

Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act, S.C. 1993, c. 5.

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product