07/23/2012 01:25 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Aboriginal Tobacco Lawsuit: Saskatchewan Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Aboriginal Tax-Free Tobacco Limits

REGINA - A lawsuit has been filed against the Saskatchewan government over a policy that limits how much tax-free tobacco aboriginals can purchase on reserves.

The proposed class action filed by the Merchant Law Group on behalf of an aboriginal woman claims the decision to tax these tobacco products is unconstitutional.

The Saskatchewan government policy that went into effect in July 2010 limits on-reserve, tax-free tobacco purchases to one carton per person each week.

The statement of claim calls on the government to pay unspecified compensation and punitive damages to aboriginals affected by the policy.

Prior to the policy change, Premier Brad Wall said the province was concerned about high smoking rates among aboriginal people and that a lack of tobacco taxes was part of the problem.

The class-action lawsuit has not yet been approved to go ahead and contains allegations that have not been proven in court.