‘Right to repair’ announcement coming today

Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement is expected to announce that the government has reached a voluntary agreement with automakers on access to essential repair technology.

TORONTO — Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement is expected to announce that the government has reached a voluntary agreement with automakers on access to essential repair technology.

Clement’s office said an announcement on the “right to repair” will be made in Ottawa on Tuesday.

At issue is access to software used by automakers that independent repair shops and their suppliers say is essential for them to do their jobs.

The aftermarket has long argued that without access to the software necessary to conduct repairs on newer vehicles, they will eventually be unable to do their jobs and consumers will have less choice, causing the price of auto repairs to skyrocket.

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada, which bills itself as the largest aftermarket trade association in the country, says a voluntary agreement doesn’t have the necessary teeth.

It wants legislation that would make automakers provide greater access to the repair technology.

A private member’s bill to this effect was passed by a vote of 247 to 18 in Parliament in May and has been sent to committee to be reviewed.

However, Clement is expected to announce Tuesday that automakers — represented by the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada — will voluntarily share their technology.

The Automotive Industries Association questions why it was left out of the consultation process.

“Our concern is, has the minister really done his work here? If he’s going to be part of an announcement stating that the car companies have come to an agreement with the aftermarket, there’s been a very large void in that process up to now,” said association president Marc Brazeau. “So we’re very concerned that agreement will be watered down and perhaps even flawed because of the fact that the major party representing the aftermarket has not been part of those negotiations.”

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