Login

Proposed law in Manitoba will allow it to join class action against opioid manufacturers

Manitoba introduces legislation which will improve conflict of interest rules

Proposed law in Manitoba will allow it to join class action against opioid manufacturers
Manitoba has introduced legislation that will permit it to join a class action against opioid manufacturers.

Manitoba has introduced legislation that will permit it to join a class action proceeding against opioid manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors and has reintroduced legislation aiming to improve its conflict of interest rules.

The Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, introduced in Spring 2020, will enable the province to take part in the class action filed in August 2018 by B.C. against companies manufacturing, wholesaling and distributing opioids in the country. The province will also be allowed to pursue claims in the bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma.

Apart from B.C., other provinces have also introduced similar legislation, such as Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. In Manitoba, the proposed legislation seeks to assist individuals, families and communities impacted by opioid misuse and to address the high human cost of opioids, which may include poisoning, hospitalizations and deaths.

“Now it is time for Manitoba to hold these companies to account, by joining other provinces and territories to take on the pharmaceutical companies that have created such significant and ongoing harm,” said Justice Minister Cliff Cullen in the news release.

“It is clear that more Manitobans require supports for mental health and addictions issues, which is why we have invested more than $42 million in initiatives to address the growing need for these services in our province since October 2019,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen in the news release.

Manitoba’s reintroduced legislation governing conflict of interest will, on the other hand, equip the ethics commissioner — renamed from conflict of interest commissioner — with broader powers, including the ability to receive and investigate complaints regarding alleged violations.

“Manitoba’s conflict of interest rules are among the weakest in Canada and this legislation would update the rules and create a new ethics commissioner with expanded powers to enforce them,” said Minister Cullen in the news release.

The proposed legislation will recognize that a conflict may be present in cases where ministers and members of the Manitoba legislative assembly have the chance to prioritize their own interest, their family’s interests or another individual’s interests over the public interest. It will also set out rules relating to gifts and personal benefits, private air travel, sporting and cultural event tickets and business dealings between members and the government.

The proposed legislation will also impose restrictions on former members regarding information that they have acquired while in office, regarding the acceptance of government contracts and regarding their interactions with the government under certain circumstances.

These updated and streamlined conflict of interest rules aim to ensure that elected provincial officials adhere to the highest standard of ethics and accountability.

Related stories

Free newsletter

The Canadian Legal Newswire is a FREE newsletter that keeps you up to date on news and analysis about the Canadian legal scene. A separate InHouse Edition is delivered on a regular basis, providing targeted news and information of interest to in-house counsel.

Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Big Deals Roundup: September to December 2020

Federal Court of Appeal affirms summary judgment in patent prosecutions

Cannabis sector in Canada stoked for M&A activity in 2021, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers say

Voting closes soon for top Ontario regional firms

Workplace mental health issues a challenge as pandemic hangs on: Stewart McKelvey managing partner

Federal justice department extends funding for sex trafficking victims

Most Read Articles

Doug Ford’s hypocrisy in firing lockdown critic Roman Baber from the Conservatives is stunning

B.C. lawyer honoured for role in legal fight to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ2SI+ community

Post-pandemic litigation may include remote will witnessing

Alberta QB justice with niche in commercial and insolvency law retires