Ontario’s ‘Right to Repair’ bill killed after big tech lobbying including Apple

“A right to repair bill that would have forced manufacturers selling electronic devices and other consumer products in Ontario to provide consumers and small businesses with the tools and knowledge to repair brand-name gadgets is officially dead,” Jordan Pearson reports for Motherboard. “The failed vote follows lobbying against the legislation from major tech companies including Apple, according to the bill’s sponsor.”

“The bill, which was put forward by Liberal MPP Michael Coteau in February, aimed to force companies like Apple to provide small businesses and average consumers with official parts, diagnostic tools, and repair manuals upon request, and at a fair price,” Pearson reports. “It would have been the first such law in North America—though 20 US states are considering similar legislation—and threatened to send consumer-friendly ripple effects throughout major electronic manufacturers’ global operations.”

“While some MPPs urged their colleagues to vote yes on the bill simply to allow for further exploration of the issue, it faced staunch resistance from members of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario,” Pearson reports. “Some PC members argued that the bill cut against the Ontario government’s new “open for business” slogan by compromising US companies’ intellectual property rights to the point that they would not sell their products in Ontario, a province that contains nearly half of Canada’s total population.”

“In a phone call, Coteau told me he expected resistance. After proposing the bill, he was approached by Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC)—an industry group that represents Apple, Panasonic, and other major tech companies—as well as representatives from from Apple and Panasonic, he told me. ‘I had an Apple senior counsel fly in…to come and see me,’ Coteau said,” Pearson reports. “The group’s collective position, Coteau said, was that the bill would compromise companies’ intellectual property rights and that home repair was a public safety issue, meaning ‘that it’s dangerous for people to open up electronic devices and fix it themselves, that it could harm them,’ Coteau said. Samsung also got in touch, he told me.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If anyone knows about faulty battery installs that burst into flame and explode, it’s Samsung.

Using authorized channels is the only way to ensure you are getting genuine Apple parts and that the repair will be done to the right specifications. With so many second-hand smartphones, for example, being sold and re-sold, how are buyers to know their battery is the genuine part and that it was correctly installed? How safe are would these smartphones be to have on airplanes, for example?

Certainly, it can be dangerous to mishandle/damage lithium batteries during DYI repairs and the results can injure not just the repairer.

What if somebody’s half-assed DIY battery installation burns down an apartment building at 3am or sets fire to a plane in flight? When even Samsung can’t fix their own batteries correctly, we doubt every single Joe and Jane Sixpack would be able to manage a perfect battery installation every single time. It only takes one mistake to cause a tragedy. — MacDailyNews, March 5, 2017

SEE ALSO:
California pulls its right-to-repair bill following pressure from Apple, other firms – May 1, 2019
Leaked internal documents show Apple is capable of implementing ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – March 28, 2019
Allstate buys mobile device repair company iCracked, becoming powerful proponent of ‘Right to Repair’ movement against Apple – February 15, 2019
California to introduce ‘right to repair’ bill which Apple opposes – March 8, 2018
State of Washington bill would make it illegal to sell electronics that don’t have easily replaceable batteries – January 26, 2018
Why Apple doesn’t want you repairing your broken iPhone or iPad yourself – July 12, 2017
Apple makes iPhone screen fixes easier as U.S. states mull ‘right to repair’ laws – June 7, 2017
Apple lobbying against ‘Right to Repair’ legislation, New York State records confirm – May 18, 2017
Apple fights against ‘right to repair’ – April 20, 2017
Apple fights ‘right to repair’ proposal; warns Nebraska could become a ‘Mecca for bad actors’ – March 10, 2017
Apple fights tooth and nail against ‘right to repair’ laws – March 8, 2017
Right to repair: Why Nebraska farmers are taking on John Deere and Apple – March 6, 2017
Right-to-Repair is ridiculous – February 16, 2017
Apple said to fight ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – February 15, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

4 Comments

  1. “to provide… average consumers with official parts, diagnostic tools, and repair manuals” sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    Politicians never seem to think things through. For some devices training is critical to do this safely, how many are going to follow the manuals correctly or even read them!

    Who pays when the average consumer messes up their repair and breaks the device. Why should a company repair a product under warranty that has been broken by the customer.

    As I said in another MDN post, they should have focused on legislation to make sure every manufacturer provides a fair and comprehensive repair and recycle program for all their products rather than pursue this sort of legislation. They think it’s in the interest of consumers but it’s misguided and an outdated idea.

    Companies should be free to innovate without being hamstrung by a few people that want to be able to take apart their devices and repair them themselves. Obviously they can still do this if they want but they shouldn’t expect any help, it’s not a fundamental right.

    For better or worse (I think better) society and technology has moved away from this idea. With ever smaller, more complex, tightly integrated devices and systems, user self repair is no longer practical or safe and most of us just aren’t interested in doing it.

    1. They should focus on legislation to ensure sovereignty over our products. Where there is room for public concern, require 3rd parties to be certified by non-competing entities.

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