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Right to Repair Gathers Momentum

Autosphere » Mechanical » Right to Repair Gathers Momentum
Alana Baker is Senior Director, Government Relations, for AIA Canada. You can reach her at [email protected]. Photo AIA Canada

Local and global solutions fostering new and stronger support over repair data access.

As vehicles become more complex and connected, access to repair data is ever more critical. Today there are numerous cases where a customer’s preferred independent service centre is unable to fix their vehicle because they are not granted access by the OEM for a specific repair procedure. The result is wasted time and effort because the shop while being able to access the right part, can’t access the repair information required to install it. 

This means, the vehicle instead needs to be sent to an authorized OEM dealer that will not allow aftermarket parts to be installed on the vehicle, requiring the customer to fork out more money for OEM replacement parts. Today’s vehicles are so complex, that even something as simple as changing a battery requires code resets due to the disruption of the vehicle’s electronic systems and there are cases where not all codes can be reset by an independent service centre, meaning an OEM dealer may have to reset one or more systems.

Costly and frustrating

These kinds of scenarios are costly and frustrating, both for the consumer and the independent service centre that traditionally looks after their car care needs. That’s why it is so important to have fair and open right to repair legislation that enables both aftermarket shops and OEM dealers, access to the data required for fixing vehicles, protecting consumer choice. 

Momentum around this issue continues to build as the automotive industry, government and the public recognize the importance of enabling consumers to have the choice in who services their vehicle. AIA Canada recently joined forces with other global auto care industry associations and released a joint global vehicle right to repair position statement. 

The statement details the core beliefs and objectives of the right to repair movement, as well as an outline of best-practice principles for developing legislation that can be used and adapted in any jurisdiction around the world.

Progress being made

Additionally, here in Canada, Bill C-244 (the current avenue by which the Federal Government is gathering feedback regarding right to repair) is slowly progressing through parliament. At AIA Canada, our hope is that the bill will pass in the House of Commons before the summer recess and then move to the Senate for continued debate this fall. While this bill is broad and isn’t specific to the auto care sector, it nevertheless represents a step in the right direction when it comes to enacting fair legislation that protects the consumer’s right to choose. 

While the Government of Canada has indicated it is open to hearing AIA Canada’s concerns related to Bill C-244, and nearly every conversation we’ve had across party lines has assured us that the government believes the automotive sector should be included in any decisions regarding the right to repair, the existence of the voluntary CASIS agreement does make this objective more challenging. That’s why it is so important for the auto care sector to continue sharing stories and case studies where access to repair information was restricted, costing both consumers and service providers time, money and relationships. 

Efforts at home and abroad

While AIA Canada continues to engage with our partners from around the world, via the global vehicle right to repair position statement [which is the first step in a growing initiative], we are also continuing to further efforts here at home.

Heading into the summer, we will be embarking on a new grassroots campaign to encourage members and supporters to join AIA Canada and take a more active role at the local level in promoting our message to the industry, government and media.

The right to repair is a major issue facing our industry at every level. That’s why by collectively working with partners at local, national and international levels, we can see what tools and strategies have worked, and adapt them to our needs. 

Being able to observe and analyze best practice approaches in different environments and jurisdictions, allows us to take these learnings back to the government and propose real, practical solutions that will help our industry and our economy thrive.

   

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