An Act to amend the Competition Act (vehicle repair)


Brian Masse  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of Feb. 4, 2022

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-231.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Competition Act to authorize the Competition Tribunal, if certain criteria are met, to make an order requiring a vehicle manufacturer to provide an independent vehicle repair provider with access to diagnostic and repair information as well as to service parts on the same terms and in the same manner as the manufacturer makes the information and parts available to repair providers who are specifically authorized by the manufacturer to service their vehicles.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

October 6th, 2023 / 2:05 p.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again in this chamber on the right to repair. I thank the member for introducing Bill C-244, an act to amend the Copyright Act, diagnosis, maintenance and repair, also known as the right to repair act. I congratulate the member for Richmond Centre for bringing it forward.

One of the things that is interesting about this is that an evolution is taking place. I originally had legislation in this chamber that passed. It was related to the right to repair, specific to the auto industry, because that was the first time we tackled this.

A common theme within Canada is that we are often treated as a colony when it comes to consumer rights. What I mean by that is the European Union and the United States often enjoy better auto recall, consumer rights, returns and other policies than we do here because we are lax, and our Competition Bureau needs reformation. We see some bills coming forth in this chamber, including from my leader, who also has a bill reforming the Competition Act, Bill C-56, and others that would improve things. Until that time, we still need to work on issues like this.

The right to repair became interesting for me because of the auto town I am in. Even representing auto companies, we still found that we were not getting treated fairly at that time. In Windsor, Ontario, we are across from Detroit, Michigan, and that is only a 2.5-kilometre distance across the border.

In Windsor, I could not get my minivan fixed aftermarket at the time, but I could drive it over the border and get it fixed in the aftermarket in Detroit, Michigan. That is because its environmental protection act and other right to repair legislation protected them much better than our Canadian system protected us.

I went across the country, back and forth a few times, and worked with a number of people. A good example is Scott Smith, who is now with the Chamber of Commerce, and others in the AIA. I worked with them for a legislative change for the automotive aftermarket. We knew that it was deficient in the overall issue, but just touching on that first point was really important because a lot of Canadians did not realize they were getting ripped off and getting treated as secondary citizens. It was unacceptable.

I remember having meetings with the auto companies. One of the executives was testing the waters about this issue, and it was really important. It was in the chamber of the other House before it closed down for renovations. I remember the CEO, after I told him what was going on, asked if it was happening in the United States. They said no, and he told his team to fix it. From that time, we got better players in the automotive aftermarket from some of the large automotive dealers.

Tony Clement was the minister at that time. The bill was going to go to the Senate. We had enough votes. It was a real fight, as is usual in this place, but that is okay. Then there was a decision made by all those involved that they would rather try a voluntary system, which we now have today and was put in place to provide the information for the aftermarket.

Why is that important? The aftermarket provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and is worth billions of dollars. It is also an issue of public safety because vehicles were being driven on the road for longer than they should not have been. Vehicles were emitting things, so it was an environmental issue because they were not tuned the way that they should have been. It was a competition issue because we had people who could not get the service they needed from the garages they wanted to use.

It was also a fairness issue because there were people working in those establishments who were trained. In those places, often some of the more marginalized workers in the industry were going to lose their jobs, not because they were not qualified or did not do all the things that were necessary, but because the industry and greed spoke louder than the people did at that time.

To credit most of those in the industry, they got their act together and created the voluntary agreement. There have been ups and downs all along the way. Even Tesla finally came onto that agreement, I am told. However, until that time, it was voluntary, so we had ebbs and flows all the time about what was taking place. That is why we are seeing legislation come back.

It is not just New Democrats this time. We see Liberals and Conservatives with aftermarket legislation, and that is because it has become habitual. I know the Bloc has also talked about this quite extensively. My colleague who spoke before me has been very effective at committee on this.

We have all grappled with this. We have seen the really stupid stuff with regard to how many plug-in cords we have to have with access to different devices for no technological reason whatsoever, and it is junk that is piling up in our landfills. Aside from the environmental part, there is a cost, and it has nothing to do with innovation whatsoever. It is about dependancy, and those are some of the things taking place.

The aftermarket to fix the different problems we are talking about here is not about taking shortcuts. There is information that needs to be provided to those people, and it would be done with terms and conditions that would be legislated and followed through on.

When my bill went through, we were not asking for shortcuts or interventions; we were asking for the proper training to be made available. What was happening was unbelievable. When there was an update on software, which could literally be a simple and minor thing, it would cripple a vehicle, and it could not be fixed in the aftermarket. Sometimes, after the physical repairs, the vehicle was being towed to another garage just to get a download of a program. It makes no sense.

It does not make sense for the environment, public safety or competition, and it hurts some of the men and women who work in those shops. Again, they are not asking for this information for free. They want a system in place so they can buy the equipment, get the necessary downloads, pay for them and service their customers in a reasonable way.

There are many different ways the voluntary agreement has basically fallen on the edge of a precipice of being ineffective. There can be intentional issues, where some companies do not want to provide information in a reasonable time, or they play games if they want. It might not even be that. It could just be that it is not their priority, because they want to do something else.

This is dangerous. If we look at the auto sector, particularly in rural and other areas, we could not service all our vehicles with dealerships. We would cripple our economy. If we lose the aftermarket for the auto sector, then we are going to lose our capabilities to be effectively moving in transportation, which is changing with the electrification of vehicles.

The problem with my bill is that it did not involve heavy equipment, farm equipment or other things like that. We knew it was a problem in the bill, but we had to at least touch on this and bring an awareness that had not been there. It is why I went across the country on this, because people were just accepting it.

We always hear fake arguments that it is about safety, that people are going to wreck their stuff and other people's stuff. We hear all these different things. Imagine if we had the same attitude when we let the screwdriver go to the public sector and people were able to use a screwdriver at home. What if we could never use a wrench or a hammer at home because it was too dangerous? It is outrageous.

We have been fixing vehicles, electronic equipment and a number of different things, as we have moved from manual to electric and to all the different technologies with computers and so forth. It has been the normal process for consumers with the devices they own, but what is happening and changing is the building in of obstacles.

There is an obstacle when a device is created where one needs a special tool for it. An obstacle is when one puts a type of system in place where one cannot fix a device because there is a technological impediment, such as to performing a simple update on the software.

Bill C-244 is married, in many respects, to my bill, Bill C-231, an act to amend the Competition Act for vehicle repair. There are some problems with the bill, such as that it does not go far enough in terms of the tribunal, as well as a few other elements. However, it sets us in the right direction. I would like to see it amended. I hope the Senate takes a look at more of the possibilities.

We are just simply not keeping up with the rest of the world when it comes to aftermarket connections. There is mounting pressure. We have just seen with Apple that it is finally to make a more standardized version of its cord, which it did not even have in its own products. This is outrageous. Now it is going to move to that. Why is it doing so? It is because the European Union is moving toward forcing these things.

These are the reasons I will be supporting this bill. New Democrats have been supporting the right to repair. As much as it is a consumer issue and an environmental issue, it is also a social justice issue, because many people have spent their time and money to be educated to have careers in the aftermarket in order to provide resources for their families. That opportunity is being denied, not by choice or by their deficiency of skills, but by the greed of large corporations that want to protect it for pure profit at the expense of everyone else. That balance has to be restored, and that is why this is a good bill.

December 5th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Chair, Copyright Policy Committee, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada

Catherine Lovrics

Again, I think the Copyright Act may not actually be the mechanism that will achieve that. The reality is that the Copyright Act deals with rules against circumvention of TPMs.

There are things like Bill C-231, which is an act to amend the Competition Act and focuses on making diagnostic information available as well as diagnostic tools. If you look to the U.S., there's a model right to repair act, which, I think, was the act you were referring to in New York as well as Massachusetts.

That type of a framework is outside of the scope of copyright. That's the punchline there. It's not under this umbrella.

October 31st, 2022 / 12:25 p.m.
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Senior Director of Government Relations, Automotive Industries Association of Canada

Alana Baker

Sure. We believe there are some amendments that can be made to this bill, Bill C-244, that would strengthen its intention. That would truly pave the way for the right to repair in Canada. Parallel changes to the Competition Act would help to reinforce the manufacturer's requirement to allow access to diagnostic and repair information, which would address some of the systemic issues around data ownership and allow our small and medium-sized businesses to truly compete.

We did see Bill C-231, which was brought forward by MP Brian Masse. I want to thank Mr. Masse for bringing this bill forward in February 2022. That bill contains a number of amendments to the Competition Act that would help to access the data. In particular, we are proposing a new section be added after section 75 of the Competition Act, proposed section75.1, “Vehicles—Access to Information and Service Parts”. I would be happy to provide members of the committee with the specific text after the presentation today.

Royal Recommendation for Bill C-237Points of OrderGovernment Orders

March 1st, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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Louis Plamondon Bloc Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Yesterday evening, Monday, February 28, the Speaker said:

I would encourage members who would like to make arguments regarding the requirement for a royal recommendation with respect to [Bill] do so at an early opportunity.

I am rising on a point of order this evening in relation to that.

I admit that I was surprised by this statement. Royal recommendation is the mechanism by which a private member's bill cannot have any financial implications unless it is recommended by the Crown.

Financial implications refers to both new expenditures and reallocation of funds for other purposes. Bill C-237, which I am introducing, does not do either.

In my view, it is clear that Bill C-237 does not require a royal recommendation and has the potential to be voted on by the House at all stages and implemented, for the following five reasons.

First, it does not require any new spending.

Second, it does not change the transfer amounts, nor does it change the names of the beneficiaries or how the funding is allocated to them.

Third, it does not change the purpose of the transfer. The Canada health transfer will still be dedicated to paying for health care. The same goes for other transfers that are allocated to a province if it has “a program whose objectives are comparable to those of a federal program”.

Fourth, it does not force the executive's hand, which retains the latitude and margin of appreciation required to transfer the funds. That prerogative remains in place. The executive will decide whether the province has a comparable program and will determine whether the province is complying with the conditions in the Canada Health Act.

Finally, precedents are on my side. There have been many bills that have changed the normative framework without any financial implications. I actually found 31 bills that amend the Canada Health Act, and not one required a royal recommendation.

For all these reasons, I believe that Bill C‑237 does not require a royal recommendation.

Let us examine it in detail. Bill C‑237 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act in two ways.

It provides all interested provinces with the opportunity to opt out of a federal program that falls under the legislative authority of the provinces. In that case, the government can pay the province a transfer equivalent to the contribution that it would have received had it not withdrawn. This means that it is an equal amount or a zero sum.

The bill adds that the government will only pay the contribution if the province “has a program whose objectives are comparable to those of a federal program”. In short, the purpose of the transfer does not change either.

This mechanism is quite similar to the one that exists in the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, for example. If a province has its own program and withdraws from the federal program, it receives the same transfer that it would have received had it not withdrawn.

The transfer is unconditional and goes into the province's consolidated revenue fund, but only if it has a comparable program. It is up to the minister to determine whether it has a comparable program.

Without any conditions on how the province runs the program, the transfer still serves the same purpose, which is to ensure that students can access financial assistance.

This same principle is in Bill C-237, which I introduced. It does not change the amounts or recipients, the distribution of the amounts among them, or the purpose of the transfer. It simply reduces federal control over the management of provincial programs in the provinces' own jurisdictions. Again, this is about provincial management of provincial programs. That is the only thing that is impacted here, and it has little to do with the prerogative of the federal Crown.

Bill C‑237 proposes a second amendment to the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, this one just for Quebec. The federal government has announced that it plans to set conditions applicable to long-term care facilities and retirement homes. I assume that they will be included in the Canada Health Act, since long-term care facilities fall under the definition of “extended health care services” in the act.

Since Quebec was the only one to object, Bill C-231 would exempt Quebec, and only Quebec, from the Canada Health Act, much like the proposal by my colleague from Montcalm to exempt Quebec from the Canadian Multiculturalism Act in his Bill C-226 in the 43rd Parliament, which did not require a royal recommendation.

The Canada Health Act does not have financial implications per se. It sets out a normative framework, five principles for the government to consider in the Canada health transfer, which is provided for in the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. It is the latter act that has financial implications.

My bill, Bill C‑237, does not change the purpose of the Canada health transfer. It does not change the purpose of the transfer defined in section 24(b) of the fiscal arrangements act as “contributing to providing the best possible health care system for Canadians and to making information about the health care system available to Canadians”. Bill C‑237 does not change this section of the act, which sets out the purpose of the transfer.

Under the Canada Health Act, the government is responsible for determining whether the provinces are in compliance. In Bill C‑237, the government determines whether the province has “a program whose objectives are comparable”. Personally, I would have preferred not to include that clause in Bill C‑237, but I realized that this would have changed the purpose of the transfers and could therefore have required a royal recommendation.

Bill C‑237 has no financial implications in terms of the amounts, their destination, their purpose or the general conditions. Only specific conditions in the Canada Health Act are affected.

Madam Speaker, I hear a lot of noise in the House and I am having a hard time delivering my speech.

February 7th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Absolutely. You can't keep up on every file, but this one is sticking. There was a previous project that also stuck in their craw, so to speak, so I appreciate that answer and look forward to that.

I've been pushing for reciprocity for electric vehicle incentives. They went ahead with this. The government had a positive response to that.

I want to shift to another issue that might be related to our trade with EV vehicles. I tabled Bill C-231, which is about the right to repair on the automotive aftermarket. The U.S. is looking at this. If we were to have regulations with regard to aftermarket access to EV vehicles to make sure they're repaired, and the U.S. is doing the same, is that something the government would look into as having that type of reciprocity? It's similar to what we do with bumpers and a whole series of things for product safety and consumer rights.

My original bill in the House of Commons passed as a voluntary agreement, which is in place today, but it didn't have the digital component to it. In the past, Canadians couldn't get the same access to American markets. Will your government at least look into this to ensure that Canadians have the same type of access to fix their electric vehicles that Americans have?

Competition ActRoutine Proceedings

February 4th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-231, An Act to amend the Competition Act (vehicle repair).

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present a bill I think all members of Parliament will support, similar to what has happened in the past. I thank the member for Timmins—James Bay for his help on this issue for the last number of years.

This bill would do three major things. The first is that it would amend the Competition Act to authorize the Competition Tribunal to make an order requiring vehicle manufacturers to provide independent repair shops access to diagnostic and repair information and to service parts on the same terms and manner as the manufacturers make that information and those parts available to their own authorized repair providers.

Second, it would update the voluntary agreement that is still in place since 2009 in my original legislation to include the rights of digital software that will cover future innovations and technologies as we move to zero-emission vehicle standards in electric vehicles.

Lastly, and most importantly, it would ensure consumers have the right to choose where they get their vehicles fixed, help the environment by making sure vehicles with emissions are stronger and also cleaner, and be good for public safety as vehicles on the road would be repaired, in order and in the best condition possible.

I look forward to this legislation hopefully having the same fate as my previous attempt, which resulted in Parliament acting on this important issue.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)