Canada Inches Closer To ‘Right To Repair’ Reform
from the fix-your-own-shit dept
Right to repair reform continues to have a moment here in the U.S., with four states (California, Minnesota, New York, and recently Maine) having passed state level protections. The goal: to fight repair monopolies and make it easier and more affordable to repair the technology you own, whether it’s your car, game console, cell phone, CPAP machine, or tractor.
It’s a rare example of U.S. consumer protection heading in the right direction. And Canada appears to be following suit, with right to repair legislation winding its way through the legislative process.
C-244 passed unanimously in the House of Commons in October, and is now being debated in the Canadian Senate. The bill would amend the Canadian copyright act, allowing individuals or independent repair shops to break digital locks in order to make software fixes. It remains unclear what a final federal proposal would look like, but the CBC notes that recent progress has been promising:
“In an email to CBC, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said the government is doing pre-consultation work and that the right to repair in Canada could consist of different measures, including at the provincial and territorial levels.”
Much like the U.S., regional Canadian territories aren’t waiting for the federal government to listen to the public and get its shit together. For example in early October the Quebec government passed Bill 29, which aims to “protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods.”
U.S. and Canada are trying to make sure consumers have affordable access to the kinds of tools, parts, and repair documentation needed to fix their own products. Europe, in contrast, is taking an approach that’s focused more heavily on making sure companies aren’t building environmentally unsustainable products (like cellphones with the batteries glued to the motherboard).
Collectively it’s a hugely popular reform movement that shows no sign of slowing down thanks to widespread, bipartisan majority public support. Lobbyists have had some success here in the States watering down state legislation, but, as evident by recent tactical retreats by giants like Apple and Microsoft, there are growing signs companies are realizing this isn’t a fight they can win.