Taking your right to repair message on Bill C-244 to the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology.
We took your voice to parliament, will they act now?
On December 5, 2022, OpenMedia testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee of Industry and Technology on the potential impact of a private member’s right to repair enabling bill, Bill C-244. Our message was simple; Bill C-244 is a necessary first step to ensuring that all Canadians have full ownership rights over their devices to repair them sustainably and affordably. You can read our opening remarks here.
In our testimony, we highlighted the affordability crisis that Canadians are facing now more than ever. For far too long, manufacturing giants have exploited Canadian consumers by making their products increasingly expensive and challenging to repair through restrictive warranties, software locks, design features and restrictions on who can access spare parts and repair manuals. This forces consumers out of a competitive market and into a monopoly market in which manufacturers set the costs of repair parts and services.
These expensive prices gouge Canadians out of thousands of dollars to repair their devices, costing nearly as much as buying new ones. This puts Canadians in an endless cycle of disposing of functional devices with fixable issues like cracked screens, dead batteries, lack of security updates, and buying new ones over and over again. This enhances our rising e-waste problem and forces consumers to spend more money on essential and expensive new devices.
Bill C-244 creates an exemption to copyright and digital locks when they are circumvented exclusively for the purpose of repairing our devices. In layman terms? It makes it legal for us to repair our digital devices ourselves or with a repair person of our choice, whether or not the manufacturer helps us do it or stands squarely in the way.
It is a necessary first step, but well short of everything we need to have a full right to repair. OpenMedia collaborated earlier this year on a report with environmental group Equiterre that examines how to implement our right to repair in detail, including obligations for manufacturers to give us a ‘repairability’ score so we can make a smart decision when purchasing a product, and at least five years of access parts and security updates after purchase, so we can use our purchase for a reasonable amount of time.
All of it happens because of the tireless efforts of people in Canada like YOU who are speaking up in support of right-to-repair legislation. Recently, OpenMedia delivered over 20K signatures urging the government to enshrine broad right to repair legislation in Canada. Because you spoke up, we made a major splash with our petition delivery and were invited to the Committee to speak to the issues that matter to YOU the most. Thank you for speaking out — your voices matter, and once again, we’re seeing your power influence key decision-makers to help them do what’s in the public’s best interest.
The Industry and Technology Committee is still considering Bill C-244, and we need to keep up momentum. If you haven't already, will you sign our petition demanding that the government pass Bill C-244 and ensure all Canadians can repair their devices affordably and sustainably? Already signed? You can still share our petition in support on Facebook, and Twitter, or stay up to date on the latest on Instagram.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for speaking up!
You can read our opening remarks here.