Montreal, June 1, 2023 - The bill protecting consumers against programmed obsolescence and promoting the durability, reparability and maintenance of goods, introduced today by the Quebec government is an important step forward for access to repair in Quebec, according to Équiterre.
"Access to repair and the durability of goods is an issue of great concern to Quebec citizens and this bill positions Quebec as a leader on the issue."
-Amélie Côté, Équiterre’s Analyst in Reduction at the source.
"What's especially promising is that the focus is on the design of objects, which is the main obstacle to repair. It’s forcing manufacturers to change their practices by making it mandatory that parts can be replaced and repaired with common tools. It was high time to reverse the burden and give consumers more power," she adds.
Last fall, Équiterre presented a major study on the obstacles and opportunities with regards to repair. A survey conducted as part of this study showed that the majority of appliances that broke down were less than three years old: an unacceptable situation which, we hope, will be corrected in part by this bill.
Several of Équiterre proposals included
Équiterre acknowledges the government's efforts, which are inspired by some of the best practices throughout the world and the many recommendations that Équiterre has made in recent years, such as:
Better access to spare parts and information manuals, for both consumers and repair professionals;
A guarantee of good working order for household appliances and electronics, obliging manufacturers to repair broken appliances for a period to be defined by regulation.
A ban on programmed obsolescence.
However, the government did not include a durability index, as recommended by Équiterre and the opposition parties. This improvement could be made during the bill's adoption process.
"Our biggest concern is that there won't be enough money invested to ensure that the new law is applied, respected and that offenders will be punished – problems that exist with the current law. There's a great opportunity to correct this," concludes Amélie Côté.
In addition to amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, Équiterre is also proposing that the government work to implement ecofiscal measures to reduce the cost of repairs for the public.
Quick facts about repair in Quebec
Over the past two years, 3 out of 5 people (63%) have had at least one appliance break.
Only 25% of Quebecers have had their broken appliances and electronics repaired, a low rate but higher than the Canadian average of 19%.
The main obstacles to repair are object design, the cost of repair, and access to parts and tools.
Équiterre's offices are located on Indigenous lands that have not been ceded by treaty, which we now call Montreal and Quebec City. We recognize that Indigenous peoples have protected their territories since immemorial times and have used their traditional knowledge to guard the lands and waters. We are grateful to live on these lands and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect them. Read more »