An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair)


Wilson Miao  Liberal

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


Second reading (Senate), as of Oct. 19, 2023

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-244.


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

This enactment amends the Copyright Act in order to allow the circumvention of a technological protection measure if the circumvention is solely for the purpose of the diagnosis, maintenance or repair of certain types of products.


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.


Oct. 18, 2023 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair)
May 31, 2023 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair)
Oct. 5, 2022 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair)

November 15th, 2023 / 10:50 a.m.
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Colin Hornby Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Keystone Agricultural Producers

We're just going to tag off here.

The third recommendation we have is ensuring that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the PMRA, is appropriately resourced and improves their internal processes in support of timely, transparent and science-based decisions that will help Canadian producers remain competitive in a global market. The PMRA must ensure that they maintain a science-based approach to all decision-making and not allow external motivations to impact any decisions.

One example we would raise would be the recent re-evaluation of lambda-cyhalothrin for the 2023-24 growing season, which has impacted many farmers and their ability to combat grasshoppers and other pests in the field.

The fourth recommendation we would like to highlight is building on budget 2023's extended interswitching pilot by further expanding the distance beyond 160 kilometres and extending the pilot past the current 18-month period. Expanding access to competitive rail services means that Canadian shippers will have the option to achieve efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance connectivity through market competition.

This improvement is vital for grain farmers and businesses of all sizes, enabling them to deliver their products and services more effectively to Canadian and international customers. The temporary nature of the extended interswitching pilot inhibits long-term planning and investment, which are crucial for the growth and stability of the industry.

Other areas from the CFA briefs you would have received that we would also endorse and highlight would be ensuring that the launch of a sustainable agriculture strategy is inclusive of all agriculture commodities; increasing AgriStability coverage to 85% of the reference margin; implementing measures to support farmers' right to repair their own farm machinery, as we have seen in Bill C-244; increasing the capital gains exemption threshold above $1 million to be more in line with current land values; and making changes to the Income Tax Act regarding the expanded definition of a child for passing on non-controlling shares of ownership to the next generation.

The House resumed from October 6 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair), be read the third time and passed.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

October 6th, 2023 / 2:20 p.m.
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Wilson Miao Liberal Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour that I rise in the House to conclude this thoughtful debate on my private member's bill.

I want to emphasize again the impact this bill would bring to Canadians, from leading the movement for a right to repair framework in Canada to reducing waste in our landfills to giving the right to repair back to consumers in Canada. By amending the Copyright Act for the sole purpose of diagnosis, maintenance and repair, not having to worry about potential legal consequences will become a reality for all Canadians.

I am proud to be a member of this chamber, and I was pleased to see all of my hon. colleagues from all parties support my private member's bill to get to this stage. With this joint effort, Canada can join its allies in the right to repair movement and promote the consumerism we are all proud of. After all, this bill would amend the Copyright Act for the creation of a right to repair framework in Canada, and all levels of government, indigenous people, industry, private sectors and consumers across Canada can join the effort in developing this framework.

As a legislator, I have listened to and heard Canadians calling for a right to repair framework in Canada. Bill C-244 would empower us as lawmakers on federal, provincial and territorial levels to make this policy reform for consumers across Canada.

As a consumer, we all like to have a choice to repair the products we purchase and own. This is a fundamental right, and Bill C-244 would ensure that consumers in Canada have this right.

As a Canadian, I lament the waste in our landfills across Canada, and the numbers continue to increase. This waste, especially electronic waste, is harmful to our environment.

We all have a shared responsibility to protect our environment and combat climate change together. Bill C-244 would help reduce planned obsolescence, waste and our carbon footprint to protect our environment. We as Canadians need to do our part to contribute toward Canada's sustainable future, to combat climate change from coast to coast to coast and to protect the interests of our future generations.

Canada is a great democratic nation. It is a nation that is at the forefront of building a future of sustainable consumerism. To end this debate, I would like to invite all my hon. colleagues to continue working together on delivering a real result in the right to repair for Canadians and to continue to make Canada the envy of the world.

I thank members and witnesses from the standing committees and stakeholders for the work and input they have shared along this journey of my private member's bill.

I want to thank the people of Richmond Centre for all of their continued trust and support for the past two years. Without them, I would not have had this opportunity to work on my private member's bill, which would bring such an impact to them and to consumers across Canada.

I would also like to thank our House administration and clerks of the House for all the work and support to every parliamentarian. I am grateful to have the privilege of presenting my private member's bill early on the list.

Last but never least, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for walking alongside me every moment of this journey, for their continued sacrifice and for being so understanding when I cannot be there with them on various occasions. I also would like to congratulate my youngest sister, who recently married my now brother-in-law Carlos, on their recent marriage.

I would like to wish everyone here a happy Thanksgiving, and it is with great gratitude that I present this bill to the chamber.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

October 6th, 2023 / 2:15 p.m.
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Vancouver Granville B.C.


Taleeb Noormohamed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak to the important bill.

I want to begin by thanking my friend and colleague, the member for Richmond Centre, for the tremendous effort he has put into making the bill come to this place today. He has travelled across the country; he has talked to stakeholders from coast to coast to coast; and he has put in the work that is required, in partnership with many others in this place, so that we can be here today doing something that is in the interest of affordability and in the interest of protecting the rights of Canadians.

It was wonderful to hear the member opposite talk about how this is a social justice issue, because it is. It is important for us to pass legislation that makes life more affordable and allows Canadians to have access to, and to use, the very things they buy. The bill seeks to remove an important barrier to repair, as we have heard, in the copyright framework. It is a necessary response to the digitization of our everyday lives and our everyday products, which rely more and more on functionalities enabled by copyright-protected software.

We all know that software is important. There are benefits that it gives the products we buy. Software allows smart phones and computers to connect people across the globe. It is what transforms coffee machines into great baristas, much to the chagrin of many.

However, the digitization of our products comes with downsides. Manufacturers are using TPMs, technical protection measures, to protect the software that is incorporated within products. They reduce the ability we would ordinarily have to repair these items. They reduce our ability to modify them. Only when they malfunction must we go to the manufacturers and seek their help to repair them and to make sure the products can work.

The Copyright Act currently prohibits the circumvention of these TPMs that protect copyright-protected content. It is being used as a barrier to Canadians who want to repair the products they own. Protections for TPMs were originally promoted as tools to encourage the creative industries to offer their works, whether they were songs, books or movies, in digital form, but they were never intended to prevent the repair of physical products that include embedded software.

The bill proposes to remove that barrier by ensuring there is an exception permitting the circumvention of TPMs for the purpose of repair and maintenance so that the copyright framework does not prevent Canadians from repairing the products they have paid for.

Over past years, much effort has been made to remove this barrier in the copyright framework. Bill C-244 was introduced in February 2022 by my colleague from Richmond Centre. It received unanimous support at second reading, and at this time the committee has completed its study. I want to acknowledge the members of that committee, who have done tremendous work and all those who have appeared as witnesses to help improve the important bill.

The study of the bill was exhaustive and thorough. The committee heard from 29 witnesses, including representatives from different industries, public interest groups and government officials. Ultimately, the committee reported the bill with amendments that I believe will help make it better achieve its objective while aligning it with Canada's international obligations.

The amendments would do three things. First, they would make the repair exception permitting the circumvention of TPMs more effective by making it clear that they would apply to third parties making repairs on behalf of product owners. The technical capacity required to circumvent the TPM and repair products is likely beyond the knowledge of average consumers, at least speaking for myself.

Second, in order to prevent any abuse and protect creative industries, the amendments would add a new safeguard that provides that the repair exception applies only if there is no infringement of copyright.

Third, the amendments would remove the exception in Bill C-244 allowing the trade of tools to circumvent a TPM for the purposes of repair in order to mitigate risks of non-compliance with Canada's international obligations. CUSMA, which includes Canada's strictest TPM obligations, only allows the trade of circumvention tools in very limited situations, and repair is not one of them.

Now that I have touched a bit on what these amendments are doing, I also want to highlight what they are not doing. Some witnesses raised concerns over health and safety, cybersecurity and environmental risks that may result in the circumvention of TPMs and the repair of products. They asked for the exclusion of certain categories of products from the application of Bill C-244. The committee, in its work, did not report any amendments excluding certain product categories from the application of Bill C-244 or providing the means to do so, and I believe the committee took the right approach.

I agree with the witnesses that these concerns are real and justified, but the Copyright Act is not designed to deal with these risks. The Copyright Act is a law of general application, the purpose of which is to grant exclusive rights over creative works. It is preferable that these concerns be addressed in those regimes that already regulate those products. Bill C-244 would not prevent these regimes regulating repairs and addressing issues that may arise in the repair of certain products. It is, however, worth noting that Bill C-244 would remove one critical barrier to repair, but it is only one element of how Canadians can enjoy a positive right to repair. Other elements of a comprehensive right to repair could include a number of dimensions, including ensuring access to repair parts and manuals.

This important measure supports the Government of Canada's commitment to providing Canadians with the right to repair. Our efforts to move forward with this bill would ensure that Canadians will face fewer obstacles when repairing the products they own.

I was pleased to second this bill. It is an important piece of legislation for us to all get behind. Let us think about the many costs that Canadians incur during the course of their lives every single day. We talk about affordability in this place all the time, and this is a tangible way to increase the longevity of products. It would make it easier for Canadians to use the products they have paid for with their hard-earned money.

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.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

October 6th, 2023 / 2 p.m.
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Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to a bill that is vital to residents of Abitibi—Témiscamingue and Quebec, and that is Bill C‑244, which was introduced by the hon. member for Richmond Centre.

Bill C‑244 amends the Copyright Act in order to allow a person to circumvent a technological protection measure, or TPM, if the circumvention is solely for the purpose of diagnosing, maintaining or repairing a product.

This bill was examined at almost the same time as Bill C‑294 on interoperability. What is interesting is that the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology was able to look at the issue from different angles and improve the bill's content to allow for the right to repair, to fight waste and to better protect the jobs of repair people, mechanics and technicians in the regions.

Over the past few years, it has become a lot more complicated to repair objects. Our vehicles are turning into motorized computers, and access to programming codes is needed to diagnose problems with them. Unfortunately, more and more manufacturers are refusing to share those codes or are charging independent mechanics exorbitant fees to get them, supposedly for security reasons. This situation is jeopardizing these small businesses and threatening their survival.

How are we to manage when our brand new smart phones get a cracked screen or some other defect? What do we do when our high-end, front-loading washing machine suddenly stops working? What about our three-year-old farm machinery in need of repair?

Let us consider Apple's policy on repairing its products, for example. All Apple products must be repaired at Apple stores, if the parts are available.

By patenting the majority of these parts, Apple holds on to its monopoly, while the electronic locks created by its operating software, protected under the Copyright Act, make counterfeiting liable to prosecution. For a resident of Abitibi—Témiscamingue, the situation is even more troublesome considering that the region has no Apple store. To get the service they are entitled to as consumers, these residents have to ship their product by mail or travel more than 600 kilometres to a large urban centre. Incidentally, the situation is practically the same for passports. That needs to change.

Manufacturers are increasingly choosing the answer for us: toss it out and buy a new one. Tight grips on replacement parts, restrictive design, the use of digital locks and other legal protections have all contributed to the difficulty in repairing and maintaining the increasingly high-tech things that surround us.

Bill C-244 presents a solution to the calls from many individuals who support the right to repair in Quebec. Their message is consistent: The government must make legislative changes that will give us both the right and the ability to repair the objects we own without violating intellectual property laws and other laws.

Although the purpose of the Copyright Act is to protect creators and intellectual property, the way companies have been using it to impede repairs over the last few decades is harmful to society as a whole. It impedes the second-hand market and harms small businesses specializing in repairs.

By supporting this bill, the Bloc Québécois is also supporting Quebec's small businesses that are committed to becoming repair centres, mechanics, computer specialists and artisans who have acquired the skills to repair our everyday products. This industry plays a key role in our energy transition and supports jobs throughout Quebec. Even though repair people are becoming increasingly rare in our communities, this bill lends direct support to their work. It will provide a living for many Quebeckers.

It is not just consumer electronics that are under the microscope. The bill also targets industrial equipment, agricultural equipment, medical devices, electric cars and many other machines that are becoming notoriously difficult for independent technicians to repair and maintain. This increases businesses' operational costs, curtails market competition and discourages follow-on innovation.

The costs of our increasing inability to repair things go beyond pocketbook issues. It is imperative that we consider the environmental impact as well. My colleague from Repentigny will be happy to hear me mention this. The manufacture of new devices generates considerable electronic waste and consumes precious resources. It is therefore crucial to give consumers the right to repair their products. I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to a new law in Quebec that is along the same lines as this one. It reminds manufacturers that they have a role to play in this equation.

Quebec has passed a new law on planned obsolescence. We applaud the leadership of the Quebec National Assembly, which recently passed this legislation to ensure that these products operate properly and to prevent the sale of seriously defective vehicles, what we call lemons.

Let me get back to the shameful waste of raw materials. Extraction of raw materials, use of rare earth metals, lead soldering, shipping and packaging are just a few examples of the ecological toll imposed by the short lifespan of many modern devices and equipment. Electronics waste is now globally among the fastest-growing types of waste, increasing at a rate of 3% to 4% each year. As the global microchip shortage reveals, ostensibly every industry is now the electronics industry. The failure of one electronic part often renders things inoperative, making them all the more likely to end up in a landfill prematurely.

I strongly recommended to my colleagues on the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology that we study the metals, plastics and electronics recycling ecosystems from a circular economy perspective, because the critical minerals in these electronics are important. We must stop them from ending up in landfills. This study will resume once our consideration of Bill C-27 is complete.

We need to address this shameful waste of resources to reduce our tonne of garbage. Quebeckers have had enough. I urge all parliamentarians to support this bill. By voting in favour of this bill, we are demonstrating our commitment to our local businesses, we are contributing to the fight against waste and we are meeting a fundamental need to repair for all our constituents. By supporting this bill, we are sending a strong, united message about our determination to promote a more sustainable and accessible future for all. This is an opportunity for us, as legislators, to make a positive difference in the lives of our constituents and to work in favour of an economy that is more environmentally friendly.

Let us make sure that the right to repair becomes a reality for everyone.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

October 6th, 2023 / 1:50 p.m.
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Rick Perkins Conservative South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to speak at third reading of this important legislation, Bill C-244, otherwise known as the right to repair bill, which was introduced by the member for Richmond Centre.

Conservatives support this legislation and are happy to see its return at third reading. It is not common in the House to find legislation that all parties can come together on and, for the most part, we agree on the principles of the bill, so I send my congratulations to the member.

Bill C-244 seeks to amend the Copyright Act to allow individuals and businesses to repair a technology with copyright material without infringing on the rights set out in the Copyright Act. When someone has a copyright for a work they created, the Copyright Act enables that creator to be the sole entity to reap the financial rewards from that creation for a set period of time. This is a good thing. Exclusive financial rewards of invention and creation is what drives progress in our society.

These days, everything includes software: cars, fridges, phones, and any manufactured equipment. All software, therefore, in those devices and things that we utilize day to day have copyright protection. Manufactured goods now have proprietary designs and structures, along with specialized tools to repair these goods. They are designed that way. Why is that? It is because repair and maintenance of manufactured goods is as profitable or more profitable than the sale of the good itself.

Copyright is being used now, in my view, as an anti-competitive tool to keep the customer tied to the manufacturer and unable to use less expensive providers of repair and maintenance. This is causing great frustration for the consumer. Only the car dealer, not one's local garage, can repair one's car. Only the manufacturer can repair farm equipment because the specialized tools and codes are only available from an authorized dealer.

The Copyright Act would be amended by this bill to provide for instances when the rights of copyright can be infringed upon, or what is known as circumvention. In other words, this bill would allow individuals or small businesses to repair technologies themselves without fear of repercussions.

Many of my Conservative colleagues from the Prairies have previously spoken about how this legislation would impact our agricultural sector in particular. Today, I would like my comments to also focus on this critical industry, which provides the food we eat.

For those who are unfamiliar, farmers are often required to pay enormous costs upfront to buy and maintain the equipment they use in operating a farm. These costs are often in the millions and include purchasing the land, the appropriate seed and fertilizer, and the equipment necessary to harvest and plant a crop. Often, large tractors, such as those from John Deere, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, as do the attachment pieces that go with them. These tractors contain complex electrical systems that require specific tools to access them, which are protected by Canada's robust copyright laws.

As is the case in every industry, the equipment farmers use often breaks down and requires either repair or a complete replacement, given enough time. This breakdown usually happens at the worst time, when speed of repair is essential. At one time, this was never a big issue.

Farmers have historically been makeshift mechanics. They have been able and expected to demonstrate that, if some engine or computer system was not working, they could find a way to fix it, jury-rig it, to get the repair done immediately so they could continue with their essential work. That was especially important, given how the harvesting season typically last only a few weeks and time lost waiting for an authorized repairman to fix an engine could cost a business their annual livelihood.

As technology has progressed and farming has become more computerized over the past two decades, including some equipment now that is self-driving in harvesting and planting, the ability to repair equipment has increasingly become more and more difficult for our farmers. Today, farmers rely heavily on technology to assist them in their harvest. These technologies can sometimes cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and have these complex systems.

For farmers, this means that if a copyrighted computer system or engine for a large tractor breaks down, they cannot simply call a local repairman or fix it themselves. Instead, they are required to call a technician from the manufacturing company or an authorized dealer to come out and fix that specific piece of equipment. This method is very taxing on owners.

Company technicians can sometimes take anywhere from hours to days, even a week or two, to arrive to conduct the necessary repair. When they finally arrive, owners are sometimes presented with an unusually high repair bill. The delay has caused lots of crop harvesting time to be lost, where every day lost is a potential loss in farm income.

My Conservative colleague from Provencher in Manitoba spoke in second reading on this bill with great knowledge and depth about the high level of investment required to keep some of this equipment and the cost associated with replacing a combine for a farmer. He talked about the millions that this costs.

This way of going about these repairs, in my view, is anti-competitive; it is harmful to farmers, small businesses and consumers. Property owners ought to be allowed to repair the piece of equipment they have purchased in the most economical way possible. They should be able to have a variety of resources at their disposal when fixing equipment, not just the pre-approved, monopolistic authorized agent from the manufacturer.

The Copyright Act has become a government-legislated gatekeeper harming consumer choice. It was not intended to be this way.

As I mentioned previously, being able to reap the financial rewards of one's own invention and creation is essential, but when copyright moves into the territory of using these rights as a way to prevent competition and control the whole repair and maintenance ecosystem, then it becomes anti-competitive and monopolistic. It then needs to be fixed, repaired and modernized to reflect the modern state of equipment that we all buy.

Even one’s stove and fridge now have these monopolistic design features in both their software and their hardware. Trying to get repairs done with a computerized fridge is next to impossible. We are soon going to see the world of artificial intelligence placed into these goods that we buy, which will make these things more complex.

This bill seems to have unanimous support from the House for this reason. The legislation seeks to address this issue by ensuring that not all repairs remain proprietary, allowing a diversity of responses when individuals are seeking to repair their equipment. In other words, it would allow competition.

Conservatives look forward to seeing this legislation move forward to the other place. We understand that there would be positive impacts for our rural communities. These issues also apply in my most important industry, the fishery.

I want to thank my colleague for reintroducing this bill. Our party looks forward to seeing how this legislation moves through and is improved in the other place.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

October 6th, 2023 / 1:30 p.m.
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Wilson Miao Liberal Richmond Centre, BC

moved that Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair), be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise in this House today to speak on my private member’s bill, Bill C-244, an act to amend the Copyright Act by allowing circumvention solely for the purpose of diagnosis, maintenance and repair of a product with technological protection measures, TPMs.

In the world we live in today, our society is surrounded by an Internet of things, where most products are becoming more advanced through innovations and most products we purchase have some type of computer program built into them. Current technologies have made convenient impacts to our daily lives. However, they have also indirectly made the repair process difficult. Certain products that are protected by TPMs, often known as digital locks, might be difficult to circumvent and legally repair.

That is the reason it is important to enact this legislation. Bill C-244 is a crucial step toward the implementation of a right-to-repair framework on federal, provincial and territorial levels. This bill would contribute to our effort toward a more sustainable future by reducing planned obsolescence and reducing waste to be buried. Most importantly, this bill would put the right to repair back in the hands of consumers in Canada, allowing consumers to choose the best options for them without worrying about any legal consequences.

By amending the Copyright Act, Bill C-244 would pave the way for all levels of government to develop legislation on a right-to-repair framework. We have seen examples in Ontario and Quebec, where proposed policies on developing a right-to-repair framework did not succeed partly because of the Copyright Act. That is why Bill C-244 is critical to a right-to-repair policy reform in Canada, as this bill would carve out an exception for the purpose of diagnosing, maintaining and repairing products with an embedded computer program, without imposing significant penalties for unlawful circumvention.

Most products being offered and purchased today are made with planned obsolescence, limiting the lifespan of a product, and sometimes the cost to repair the broken product can cost more than purchasing a new replacement, which sometimes is better or with more upgrades. Also, the time it takes to repair, or simply wait for parts, can discourage consumers from choosing to repair over buying something new. As a result, more waste is in our landfills and more emissions and carbon footprint are generated from the process of manufacturing, transporting, disposing and much more.

With the implementation of Bill C-244, repairing a broken product would no longer be restricted with the amended Copyright Act. The circumvention of the TPMs would be legally allowed only for the sole purpose of diagnosis, maintenance and repair. It would grant consumers the right to repair and more control over their own purchases, allowing a product to extend its lifespan, reducing and conserving resources by promoting a more sustainable approach to manufacturing and consumption. During this challenging time in an affordability crisis, Bill C-244 can actually help consumers save money.

By reducing their dependence on costly authorized repair services and through the right to repair, broken or malfunctioning products are more likely to be repaired instead of being discarded, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and building a more environmentally sustainable society. Not only that, the right-to-repair movement can also foster a healthy competition among repair service providers, leading to more competitive and affordable repair options. This would not only support the growth in local small businesses, but promote job creation within the repair industry, growing our local economies.

These are reasons that Bill C-244 is important legislation toward the right to repair. This bill would help lead Canada into a more sustainable future and become a strong champion for consumer rights. This bill is good legislation that is meant for all consumers across Canada.

If Bill C-244 becomes law, it will allow federal, provincial and territorial governments to implement further legislation on developing a right-to-repair framework across Canada. It will empower all of us as lawmakers to further our joint effort in developing good policies that lead to sustainable consumerism.

Please allow me to extend my invitation to all consumers across Canada to join this collective effort to build a more sustainable and climate-resilient future, especially for our future generations. Every Canadian can contribute by choosing repair over a new purchase and sustainability over landfills, by protecting our environment and by supporting communities impacted by climate change from coast to coast to coast.

The Copyright Act, as it stands today, restricts the circumvention of TPMs that protect copyrighted content, making any circumventions illegal. Copyright exists to protect intellectual property and the original work of its creator, not to prevent repairs to copyrighted products, because nothing is being copied or distributed.

TPMs were originally created to encourage artists and creators to share their work in digital form without worrying that their work was being copied. As we advance into this modern world with the Internet of things, many products are embedded with a chip or some type of computer program. Manufacturers will use TPMs to protect the software incorporated within products, preventing modification of the original work. What I have been hearing is that some manufacturers use TPMs to control and limit the use of a product.

TPMs can also restrict access to the basic information needed for diagnosis, maintenance or repair, or can prevent repairs from happening at all. This restriction limits consumers' right to repair, and in many cases, only manufacturers or authorized repair services have the tools and parts to bypass these restrictions.

The intention of the Copyright Act was not to prevent Canadians from repairing products with embedded software. Copyright-protected content, in certain ways, is being used as a barrier to Canadians who want to repair their products. Bill C-244 would remove that barrier by creating a new exemption permitting the circumvention of TPMs for the sole purpose of diagnosis, maintenance and repair so that the Copyright Act does not prevent Canadians from repairing the products they own or use. The impacts of this bill would be tremendous.

Some witnesses at the standing committee raised concerns over health and safety, cybersecurity and environmental risks that may result from the circumvention of TPMs and the repair of products. They asked for the exclusion of certain categories of products from the application of Bill C-244. I sincerely appreciate that these industry representatives voiced their concern during the study of this bill for our legislative process.

The Copyright Act is a law of general application, the purpose of which is to grant exclusive rights over creative works. It is more desirable that these concerns be addressed in regimes that already regulate those categories of products. Bill C-244 would not prevent these regimes from regulating repairs or addressing issues that may arise in the repair of certain products.

As an example, I was honoured to have the opportunity to meet with some representatives from one of the world's leading medical technology industries. They shared with me that this amendment to the Copyright Act might create a grey area that would legally allow someone to fix medical equipment without oversight. However, Bill C-244 would not override any regulation, such as by Health Canada in this case on medical equipment. Only licensed technicians with relevant training and experience could repair broken or malfunctioning medical equipment, while meeting the standards set out by Health Canada.

How I see this bill impact this industry, and many other industries, is by enacting future right to repair legislation on allowing certified technicians in hospitals and other industries to have access to repair manuals and parts available, which will make a difference as serious as between life and death.

I also had the pleasure of hearing from representatives from the automotive industry. They shared with me that this bill will encourage fair play, create competition and make repair more accessible for Canadians. With Bill C-244, Canadians would be able to drive up to a local repair shop and not be restricted to a dealer's authorized repair shop to have their vehicle serviced and repaired. What we need is to provide the tools for technicians at repair shops to access the data of vehicles that TPMs limit. With this access, technicians can provide quality services for diagnosis, maintenance and repair to vehicle owners.

Over this summer, I travelled to our Prairie provinces. For the first time, I was able to see, in person, the huge combines and tractors that can harvest thousands of acres. It was truly remarkable and just amazing. I had the pleasure of speaking with farmers who shared with me that many farmlands are generationally owned through family legacy. It is this time of the year, the harvesting crop year, that our Prairie farmers are busy at work. They are the hard-working Canadians who help put food on our table and bring the agriculture and agri-food sector of Canada to the international stage. Yet, the harvesting season can vary significantly from year to year, depending on changes in weather pattern. With climate change, we have seen the devastating impacts of droughts, flooding, wildfires and other extreme weather events across Canada. These unexpected conditions can cause severe damage to the yield each year.

For farmers in a more remote area, if their equipment breaks down during the midst of harvesting, travelling to a nearby town can take hours, and that is not even saying how long it would take to go to the nearest authorized dealer for service and repair. During the busy harvesting season, parts for repair can be in demand and not readily available. Let us give our farmers the option to a more accessible right to repair.

I stand in this chamber to wish our farmers across Canada a great harvesting season this year and every year ahead.

I would like to ask every Canadian: Would it not be better if consumers could have the right to repair on products they purchase and own?

With that, I want to thank the House administration for the thorough work and support to all parliamentarians on the work we do in this chamber. I give special thanks to the Library of Parliament and the Clerk of the House.

I would also like to thank the hon. member for Cambridge for all his hard work tabling this bill in the last Parliament and for seconding Bill C-244 during its second reading. As well, I thank the honourable member for Vancouver Granville for seconding my private member's bill at this third reading stage. I also want to take this opportunity to wish him an early happy birthday.

I thank all the witnesses for presenting their views and providing their input and comments on this bill. I also want to thank every hon. member of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology for their thoughtful input and study on this bill.

To the stakeholders across Canada who took the time to share their input with me, I thank them for their continued support and championship for the right to repair.

Most importantly, I want to thank all my constituents and the people of Richmond Centre. Without their trust and support, I would not have the privilege to table this important bill.

It is with great gratitude and appreciation to colleagues from all parties and the House that I was able to rise today to speak on my private member’s bill.

Copyright ActPrivate Members' Business

May 31st, 2023 / 4:05 p.m.
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The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to order made Thursday, June 23, 2022, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in Bill C-244 at report stage.

The House resumed from May 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair), as reported (with amendment) from the committee, be concurred in.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair), as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Budget Implementation Act, 2023, No. 1Government Orders

May 1st, 2023 / 5:30 p.m.
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Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, in her speech, my colleague said that nothing is working here in Canada. The Bloc Québécois also finds that most of the time the government is just treading water, when there is a lot more that could be done for Canadians.

For example, the government launched two consultations focusing on agriculture. With regard to the first consultation, Bill C-294 and Bill C-244 were just examined in committee, so why is this consultation necessary?

With regard to the second consultation, the government wants to consult the provincial and territorial governments to help farmers with urgent financial needs. Why hold another consultation when the government just negotiated the agricultural policy framework?

Does my colleague have a word to describe that? It is as though we are taking one step forward and two steps back.

I will let my colleague come up with a word to describe the government's approach on this.

Industry and TechnologyCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

March 30th, 2023 / 10 a.m.
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Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology in relation to Bill C-244, an act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendment.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology in relation to Bill C-288, an act to amend the Telecommunications Act (transparent and accurate broadband services information).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendment.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology in relation to Bill C-294, an act to amend the Copyright Act (interoperability).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House also with amendment.

March 22nd, 2023 / 5 p.m.
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The Chair Liberal Joël Lightbound

I call this meeting to order.

Welcome to meeting No. 63 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology.

Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Wednesday October 5, 2022, we are studying Bill C‑244, An Act to amend the Copyright Act (diagnosis, maintenance and repair)..

Today’s meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House Order of Thursday, June 23, 2022.

We will now continue with clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C‑244.

We will resume debate on amendment G-1 of clause 2 in Bill C-244.

I will recognize MP Fillmore.

March 8th, 2023 / 6:30 p.m.
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Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON


We're going to have a further conversation, I think, at this committee around ensuring compliance with CUSMA. Obviously, it applies to Bill C-244 as well. It's been a more challenging conversation for this bill as well.

To Mr. Rosborough's point, as I understand it, you mentioned article 20.66(4)(h). However, article 20.66(4)(a) says:

non-infringing reverse engineering activities with regard to a lawfully obtained copy of a computer program,

Okay. Check.

carried out in good faith with respect to particular elements of that computer program that have not been readily available to the person engaged in those activities, for the sole purpose of achieving interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs

One would think.... The fact is that interoperability is clearly marked out here as an exception. You then have the basket clause in paragraph (h) that you pointed to.

I guess the question is not for you, Mr. Rosborough, but for Ms. Lovrics or your colleague.

Given articles 20.66(4)(a) and 20.66(4)(h), so that I'm better prepared to ask the question when we have a trade expert in front of us, how should I understand a CUSMA objection in the course of Bill C-294?