Brantford to join opioid crisis lawsuit

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The City of Brantford will join the City of Grande Prairie, Alberta, in a $10-billion class action lawsuit on behalf of all Canadian municipalities affected by the opioid crisis after city council passed a motion.

In a statement released Tuesday, the City of Brantford said it has made the decision “to step forward, take a stand, and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the negative impacts suffered by municipalities across Canada as a result of the national opioid crisis.”

“It is important for the City of Brantford to be a leader in this class action lawsuit because of the significant impact the opioid crisis has had on the community.”

For many years, the City of Brantford has worked diligently to address the opioid crisis locally and, by deploying the Brantford-Brant Community Drug Strategy (BBCDS), has implemented various programs and community supports, including education and rehabilitation programs specifically designed to reduce the impact of the opioid crisis on the city.

Addiction rates, opioid related deaths and opioid related hospital visits have consistently been above the national average in the past and have required the city to take a proactive approach in addressing the opioid crisis. Brantford’s proactive approach has resulted in increased costs to the city associated with funding various community programs designed to mitigate the impact of the opioid crisis on community members.

This lawsuit differs from the one filed by the Province of British Columbia on behalf of provincial health insurers in 2018. 

Where that lawsuit claims health-care costs incurred by the provinces in treating people who suffer from the crisis, this claim is brought on behalf of cities and municipalities for the increased expenses of dealing with the crisis on a local level. These include the costs of increased police, fire and paramedic services, as well as the costs associated with social programs, treatment and recovery, homelessness, and harm reduction. 

Through this process, the cities of Brantford and Grande Prairie will stand as examples of how the opioid crisis has affected Canadian communities and, if approved by the court, their examples will be used to resolve issues common to cities and municipalities across the country. 

“The leadership and examples exhibited by these two cities, one in northern Alberta, and the other in the heart of densely populated south-western Ontario, will allow a court to see how the opioid crisis is impacting communities across Canada,” said Mathew Farrell of Guardian Law Group, one of the lawyers representing the City of Brantford and Grand Prairie in this lawsuit.

Guardian Law Group is a leading class action firm located in Calgary, Alberta, and is working with Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, a leading U.S. firm with a track record of success against pharmaceutical companies in similar claims.

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