A new right to repair bill tabled in Quebec would make it the first province and one of a few jurisdictions in North America that protects the consumer’s right to choose where to have their vehicle repaired.
If passed, Bill 29, An Act to protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods, would give Quebec vehicle owners protections by being able to choose the vehicle repair facility of their choice. It would also force manufacturers to repair certain goods at “a reasonable price” to avoid having the consumer discard them entirely.
The bill would also mandate consumers who purchase a vehicle be entitled to an inspection free of charge before the end of the lease.
It goes further on the consumer goods side. Quebec would have regulatory powers “to determine technical or manufacturing standards for goods, including standards for interoperability between goods and chargers.” It would mandate that all mobile phones have a universal charger.
Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette introduced the bill.
“The bill fills a significant gap that has emerged in the industry in recent years with the arrival on our roads of a new generation of intelligent and electric vehicles,” said a statement from AIA Canada in response to the tabling of the bill.
It further noted that vehicle manufacturers are taking “advantage of the lack of a legislative framework adapted to the new reality of smart and electric vehicles to drastically restrict access to data produced by telemetry and telematics systems when driving these vehicles.”
The group went on to say that the current situation is “untenable” as most vehicles sold today are equipped with advanced systems.
AIA Canada said it will work with parliamentarians and suggest improvements where needed in the bill. It will look for and close potential loopholes. It also noted that the passage of the bill would make Quebec a leader in Canada as the first province to enshrine such consumer protections.
“With Bill 29, Québec will be a winner on all fronts: in addition to effectively fighting against planned obsolescence and encouraging the repair of automotive property, it will ensure a plurality of services and freedom of choice for Québec consumers as well as the promotion of healthy competition and competitive prices in the auto repair market,” said AIA Canada president J.F. Champagne.
It was in February last year when Brian Masse, an NDP member of Parliament representing Windsor West in Ontario, introduced right to repair legislation as a private member’s bill. It would ensure OEM-approved tools and parts are available to the automotive aftermarket. This would allow consumers the freedom to choose where their vehicles are repaired as all shops would have access to what they need to repair vehicles.
Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), has spoken at length on multiple ocassions recently about this being the best opportunity for the aftermarket — particularly in the U.S. — to get right to repair legislation passed.