When U.S. President Joe Biden issued sweeping right-to-repair orders to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission this summer to develop rules to promote product repairability, he was tackling one important pillar of the right to repair movement.
Europe has taken the leading role in right-to-repair by forcing manufacturers to make products that are better designed, last longer, and have repairability. They are also forced to provide spare parts and repair services that are affordable. And finally, the small business repair sector has access to the manuals they need to carry out repairs on a wide range of electronic products, including smartphones. Small business repair shops will also have access to the right training and the right tools so reparable products don’t end up on the scrap heap.
This past year, the European Commission announced plans for right-to-repair rules for smartphones, tablets and laptops, and some countries have begun introducing legislation.
Even before President Biden’s orders, all fifty states had right-to-repair bills in the mill, although only Massachusetts has made it into law. Some states, such as South Carolina have focused on agricultural-related legislation. Others, like California have focused on medical equipment.
It’s time for Manitoba to legislate the right to repair. Manufacturers must be required to maintain and repair their many electronic products at reasonable priced, including smartphones, or replace the electronic product or refund its purchase price when requested to do so by the purchaser. We need to follow the European example.
The province also needs to address the epidemic of catalytic converter thefts across the province caused by organized crime. We need simple rules changes for scrap metal dealers that would disallow anonymous, cash-only transactions, as exist now in Alberta, and provide meaningful deterrents to these organized criminals.
If you have any questions, please contact me by emailing me at email@example.com or calling my office at 204-415-1122.
Elmwood constituency report
Jim Maloway is the NDP MLA for Elmwood.