Right to Repair gets a win in Canada’s House of Commons

by | Oct 24, 2023 | 0 comments

The description of Bill C-244 says it’s about changing the Copyright Act, but what it’s really about is Right to Repair, and now that it has been passed by the House of Commons, Canada is one step closer to its first real Federal Right to Repair win.

The focus of Bill C-244 on section 41 of the Copyright Act to permit the diagnosis, maintenance and repair of Trusted Platform Module protected products. Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is an independent component that monitors the state of a system and provides data protection using encryption. TPM technology is being targeted as OEMs could use this or similar methods to block access to important data and systems to effect repairs.

For Canadians, the passage of the bill into law would entrench the right to direct the repairs of many products, including their vehicles.

The bill passed unanimously this October through the House of Commons and is now going to the Senate for review.

According to AIA Canada, which has been on point for the automotive aftermarket on driving Right to Repair at the federal level it represents a significant step in the right direction: “while there is more work to be done, this is an important starting point to truly pave the way for standalone vehicle right to repair legislation in Canada.”

The progress of Bill C-244 comes shortly after the passage into law of Quebec Bill 29 which more specifically addresses Right to Repair issues head on.

But at the federal level, it’s been more of a building-block approach

Speaking on The Great Canadian Aftermarket Podcast in July 2022 as two bills, C-244 and C-231–a more specific Right to Repair bill–were working their way through Parliament, AIA Canada Vice President of Government Relations and Research Alana Baker described it as an important if step, but not the end-game.

“This [Bill C-244] is more broad. It’s not specific to the automotive sector. It would amend the Copyright Act, and allow those who diagnose and maintain or repair a product to circumvent a technological protection measure. So, while it’s a step in the right direction, as I said, it does not go far enough.

“Because we know that new vehicles are collecting data, through vehicle telematic systems. They’re transmitting this data wirelessly from the vehicle back to the manufacturers. We need to ensure that any right to repair legislation eliminates manufacturers from circumventing the sharing of data through new digital locks, requiring further technology to access vehicle data and creating new barriers to independent repair shops from competitively servicing connected vehicles.

“So, the best way to achieve that is through parallel amendments to the Competition Act, like what we’ve seen in Brian Massey’s private member’s bill [C-231], which would address systemic issues around data ownership and allow our small- and medium-sized businesses to truly compete.

“The key here is that we need to ensure that manufacturers are not able to circumvent the sharing of data.

“Canadians are already stretched with cost-of-living increases,” Baker said on the unanimous passage of the bill by MPs. “We know of many examples where an inability to service a vehicle at the auto repair shop of their choice has resulted in increased costs for consumers.”

For more information on Right to Repair in Canada, visit righttorepair.ca


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