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Product Liability in Quebec: Implications of the Court of Appeal’s Tobacco Decision

Montréal, February 12, 2020 - 12:00 PM - January 1, 0001

Please note that this seminar will take place in French.

The decision of the Court of Appeal of Québec in the Imperial Tobacco case is important for manufacturers, distributors and professional vendors doing business in Quebec. In this seminar, the Blakes Litigation group will provide an overview of the matter.

Product liability and safety defects
In Imperial Tobacco, the Court issued a 430-page decision seeking to clarify the law and provided a detailed analysis of the regime of liability applicable to manufacturers of products that are not defective, but have inherent safety defects, such as cigarettes. Claude Marseille and Ariane Bisaillon will analyze and discuss the scope of the duty to inform that is imposed on manufacturers, distributors and professional vendors in that context.

Punitive damages
Are the unprecedented punitive damages awarded in Imperial Tobacco indicative of greater punitive damages to come, like those awarded in the United States? Such a trend could have a significant impact on the damages to which companies are exposed. Francis Rouleau and Anthony Cayer will address this important issue in the context of class actions and civil litigation by providing an overview of the test used by the Court in this case.

Absolute presumption of prejudice in consumer law
The application of the so-called absolute presumption of prejudice in response to a violation of the Quebec Consumer Protection Act can be particularly harsh for merchants accused of making misleading representations to consumers. The Imperial Tobacco case sheds new light on the scope of this presumption when misrepresentations result from the omission to state material facts. Simon Seida and Maude Gérin-Lajoie will review the framework for the application of this presumption, its consequences, and possible defences.


Mandatory Continuing Education

Please note that pursuant to the amendments to the Règlement sur la formation continue obligatoire des avocats (Regulation respecting mandatory continuing education for lawyers – available in French only) of the Barreau du Québec, which came into force on April 1, 2019, the status of "recognized provider" and the mandatory "recognition" of activities have been abolished.

Blakes will continue to provide you with a certificate of participation for your records. As stipulated in the above-mentioned regulation, members must preserve supporting documents attesting their completion of training activities for a period of seven years beginning on April 30 following the end of the reference period during which such activities were completed.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

  • Lunch and Registration: 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

  • Presentations*: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.


Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
1 Place Ville Marie
Suite 3000
Montréal, Quebec (Map)

*This seminar is also available as a webcast. 

Please register by Wednesday, February 5, 2020.