C-272 is one part of a right-to-repair system in Canada. This issue is non-partisan: 3/4 of Canadians are supportive of a right to repair.
Today, copyright effectively prevents people from repairing devices with embedded software. This can prevent repairs in complex machinery from tractors to major appliances. When a device with embedded software breaks you may need to circumvent a Technological Protection Measure (TPM) to repair it. TPMs include everything from encryption to password locks, and are illegal to circumvent.
Many manufacturers ensure that you need a code, or specific piece of equipment, in order to complete repairs. These codes are costly, or only available through a dealership.
These high costs, and the manufacturer’s behaviour, violates the spirit of our anti-competition laws. Rural Canadians are often the most harmed by their lack of access.
C-272 prevents these issues by carving out a specific and limited allowance for consumers to circumvent a TPM, but ONLY for the purpose of diagnosis, maintenance, or repair. This bill is a limited change designed to give a small amount of control back to the consumer. The circumvention of TPMs for any other reasons would still be illegal.
This bill addresses copyright being used in a way for which it was never intended - to block the repair and maintenance of items which have been purchased and are currently owned by Canadians. It is a targeted bill, which creates specific exemptions to copyright.
C-272 is part of the federal responsibility within a “right-to-repair” legislative framework. Much of this responsibility lies with provinces, but this must be addressed in order for right-to-repair legislation to exist.
This bill is critical as more devices continue to fall under copyright. We must have the ability to conduct repairs without violating the Copyright Act.
Without C-272 we are harming our environment, our wallets, and continuing planned obsolescence. We are far behind Europe in this area, and a number of US states are actively considering right-to-repair legislation, as was Ontario. C-272 is a key step in allowing provinces to be able to create their own right-to-repair legislation.