Bill C-273, otherwise known as the Right to Repair bill, could become law as early as next spring if things go smoothly through Parliament, according to Automotive Industries Association of Canada.
After a lobbying effort by AIA of Canada and its members, Bill C-273 was passed in Parliament last May, thus sending it to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology for review this month.
“[The bill] has passed second reading and received a vote of 248-17 to be referred to the Committee,” says Scott Smith, director of government and industry relations for AIA Canada, “I hope the Committee finds the Bill valid and if there are amendments to be made that will improve the bill that those amendments are made, and that the bill goes back to the House for a vote. If everything goes smoothly it could be with the Senate as early as the New Year, and the bill could become law early next spring.
“If passed, Bill C-273 would amend framework legislation for the Competition Act and the Environmental Protection Act. Under the Environment Protection Act, it would harmonize with the U.S.’s Clean Air Act and would require carmakers to share information with the aftermarket that could be accessed over the Internet. The Competition Act would be the policing function, such that if there was a challenge with compliance with auto manufacturers, there would be an opportunity for the Competition Bureau to take whatever company is non-complaint to task, assuming the legal tests were met.”
The bill would effectively give independent service centres and technicians the same access to tooling and training information as their OEM dealership counterparts.
In a separate related matter, last month, Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement announced a voluntary Right to Repair agreement between the automakers and the aftermarket, raising questions among supporters of the Right to Repair Bill.
According to NATA, the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) would allow automotive
repair facilities in Canada to access auto manufacturers’ service and repair information. Additionally, it would provide access to tooling and training information for local repair facilities across the country. The agreement stated that automakers will have the information made available no later than May 2010.
However, missing from the announcement in Ottawa, was any mention of the Right to Repair bill currently working its way through the legislative process.
In letter released by Marc Brazeau, president of AIA Canada to Minister Clement, states that AIA Canada and its partnering associations were excluded from the conversations between automakers and the aftermarket in participating discussions on the issue of access to information.
While the voluntary agreement is being praised by vehicle associations and the government, not having broad aftermarket representation at the table has raised several issues.
“We are at a loss as to explain why the car manufacturers would exclude AIA in these discussions in favour of a loosely affiliated organization that represents less than five per cent of the marketplace in very few provinces,” stated Brazeau. “Moreover, it is our understanding that this organization also represents new car dealerships within its membership, clearly a conflict of interest.”
The potential dates for Bill C-273 by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology are October 7, the 19th, or the shortly thereafter.