Ontario court again extends stay of proceedings for three tobacco companies
TORONTO – An Ontario court has once again extended an order putting legal proceedings against three tobacco giants on hold as they continue negotiating a settlement with their creditors.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas McEwen agreed Tuesday to extend the stay for JTI-Macdonald Corp., Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. until Sept. 30, 2022.
McEwen says there is no suggestion the companies “aren’t carrying on in good faith and with due diligence in an extremely complex mediation” with stakeholders.
He also says none of the other parties in the case have opposed the extension.
The stay was first granted in March 2019 and has been prolonged several times since then. It was set to expire on March 31.
The order was put in place after the companies lost an appeal in a landmark class-action lawsuit in Quebec and were told to pay more than $15 billion in damages to smokers in that province who either fell ill or were addicted.
The stay aims to maintain the status quo while the companies work towards a global settlement with the class-action members and other creditors.
Those other creditors include several provincial governments seeking to recover smoking-related health-care costs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2022.