Ranked 15 out of 57

Canada

Overall Score: 47

Indicators of Influence

These seven key indicators highlight interference from the tobacco industry in Canada.

No. 1

Industry participation in policy development:

Indicator Score:

5 / 20

There are no restrictions. In its policy consultations, the Federal Department of Health regularly invites policy proposals from all parties including the tobacco industry. The Ministry has accepted industry recommendations for delayed implementation of regulations on repeated occasions.

However, Health Canada reports that it is not using policies or legislation drafted by or in consultation with the tobacco industry, although there may be some specific amendments that arise as part of a public consultation process.

The Canadian government does not include any representative of the tobacco industry in its delegation to the Conference of the Parties (COP) or its other related meetings.

No. 2

Tobacco industry-related CSR activities:

Indicator Score:

3 / 20

Some government agencies continue to identify partnerships with the tobacco industry and accept funding. There are no prohibitions in place to prevent such violations.

No. 3

Benefits given to the tobacco industry:

Indicator Score:

7 / 20

The government of Canada continues to give special privileges to tobacco companies despite maintaining a relatively robust tobacco control strategy. The government continues to grant delays on tobacco policy implementation at the request of tobacco companies.

It is not uncommon for Canadian governments to postpone the implementation of tobacco control laws when under pressure from the tobacco industry or its allies. While most plain packaging requirements have been implemented, new slide-and-shell packaging has been delayed until October 2021 under pressure from the tobacco industry.

No. 4

Unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry:

Indicator Score:

8 / 20

Limitations on interactions with tobacco companies only extend to the Federal Department of Health staff and officials. There is no such limitation on interactions with the Public Health Agency of Canada or any other government department, agency, board or institution.

Tobacco lobbyists report numerous and ongoing meetings with government officials in various government departments and agencies in the Federal Lobbyist Registry.

No. 5

Procedure for transparency measures:

Indicator Score:

4 / 20

The Federal Department of Health is now disclosing the details of meetings with tobacco companies but this does not apply to other government departments or entities. However, the federal lobbyist register records the interactions but not with the same level of detail as the Department of Health.

No. 6

Avoiding conflicts of interest:

Indicator Score:

4 / 20

The government continues to invest in tobacco companies through the Canada Pension Plan even though subnational governments are suing the same companies to recover health care costs resulting from industry negligence and deception.

No. 7

Preventive measures:

Indicator Score:

16 / 30

The Federal Department of Health recently launched a website that discloses the attendees and minutes of meetings with the tobacco industry. However, this disclosure is limited only to meetings with the Federal Department of Health and no other government Ministries or agencies. As of May 2020, no tobacco industry meetings have been reported since August 2018.

The Tobacco Reporting Regulations require disclosure of some, but not all, tobacco industry activities.

There is no code of conduct for interactions with tobacco companies.

Recommendations

Specific recommendations for the government of Canada:

  • Launch a government-wide initiative to fully implement Article 5.3 across all federal departments and agencies with robust policies, instruments, monitoring and public reporting.
  • Assist subnational governments with the full implementation of Article 5.3.
  • Provide funding for independent monitoring of and reporting on industry actions and government adherence to Article 5.3.
  • Prohibit all federal government partnerships and collaborations with the tobacco industry.
  • Divest tobacco industry holdings from the Canada Pension Fund and all federal government investment vehicles.

Learn more about tobacco industry interference in this country.

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