With Help from Dealer Members, NAEDA Continues to Lobby for Industry Solution to Right to Repair in Canada


What started as a focus on repairing electronics in the Canadian Parliament has become a concern for the agricultural and construction equipment industry. But with the help of dealers, an industry solution could be on the horizon.

With several Right to Repair bills being pushed in the United States, the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA) has been standing its ground to make sure agricultural and construction equipment are exempted from such legislation. It was only a matter of time before the issue would make its way into Canada.

“When Bill C-244 was introduced in Parliament during 1st Reading, there were zero references to farm or construction equipment,” said NAEDA Canada President John Schmeiser. “Then, when other Members of Parliament spoke about the bill during 2nd Reading, all of a sudden, they brought farm equipment into the conversation. That was a little concerning, so we immediately reached out to all of the Members of Parliament on the committee as well as the Members of Parliament who spoke on the 2nd Reading and told them about the industry commitment and that legislation was not needed.”

Prior to this 1st Reading of Bill C-244 in Canada, any Right to Repair legislation in the United States that included farm and construction equipment had failed or they removed language that would affect the industry.

Upon the vote on 2nd Reading passing the House of Commons in October, it was referred to Parliament’s Industry and Technology (INDU) Committee. During the INDU Committee meeting on November 14, NAE- DA was one of three invited groups to testify in support or opposition to the bill.

Schmeiser and Eric Wareham, NAEDA VP of Government Affairs, represented Canadian dealers during this session with a 5-minute statement followed by a Q&A session for the next 90 minutes.

“Because of our lobbying effort, we were one of the few groups that were invited to speak on the bill,” Schmeiser said. “It’s not automatic that you get the opportunity to speak for or against legislation, but because we had contacted enough Members of Parliament and the Chair of the Committee, and they saw how active we were in our lobbying efforts, they gave us the opportunity to pro- vide testimony against the bill.”

When they spoke to the committee, the focus remained that NAEDA supports a customer’s right to repair their own equipment.

“Nobody has taken away that customers’ right to repair their own equipment,” Schmeiser said. “What we’ve done is gone even further, and we will provide service manuals, diagnostic equipment, or special tools to the customer if they want to purchase them, as part of our industry commitment.”

As a collective, NAEDA believes that Right to Repair legislation tends to pit the dealership against the customer. Dealers want to see their customers succeed and be viewed as a solution provider to the customer. An industry solution, like the MOU between John Deere and The American Farm Bureau Federation, or the most recent ones with CNH, Kubota, CLAAS and AGCO, are the outcomes they are hoping for overall.

“An industry solution is much better than a legislated solution,” Schmeiser said. “We also made the statement that if a customer purchases the available tools, they can make 98% of the repairs themselves. Now, that remain- ing 2% revolves around emission or safety features or the altering of software. As an industry, we cannot support access to those items.”

Because altering emissions or safety features is illegal in both the U.S. and Canada, NAEDA stands by following the legal procedures put in place for consumer safety.

“If you are monkeying around in the soft- ware, there are some unintended consequences that could happen, and a good example of a safety feature is the brakes on a tractor,” Schmeiser said.

Every part of a tractor, combine or high clearance sprayer is created to handle the manufacturer’s specifications, so when someone modifies something, like the maximum speed, it impacts the ability of the brakes, transmission, and engine to continue to perform with- out harm.

“This can happen even if the customer isn’t trying to change the maximum speed in miles per hour,” Schmeiser said. “It can happen unintentionally with access to the software, so for safety and legal concerns, I think we have a very compelling argument.”

It all boils down to a “lack of education.” Since its inception, NAEDA has been work- ing to advocate for equipment dealers, which in turn is advocating for their customers.

The mechanics shortage is one of the many industry challenges and areas where education is needed. NAEDA’s appearance before the INDU Committee also provided an avenue to share these challenges with Members of Parliament.

“Our workforce development efforts show that what we’re doing is putting a whole bunch of money into colleges, training, and scholar- ships so that more kids come into the industry, and hopefully, that will help with our work- force development,” Schmeiser said.

A common complaint among dealership customers regarding repairs is that they do not have the time to wait for mechanics to make it to the field on a service call or they don’t want to pay for the travel time a dealership charges to make the trip. So, a request for improved rural broadband access in Canada’s remote areas was also brought before the INDU Committee.

Another argument made before the INDU Committee was that dealers do not have a monopoly on repairs. A recent NAEDA – Farm Equipment Magazine survey shows that about 60% of the parts sold at dealerships go directly to the customers to make their own repairs.

“A very important message that we’ve tried to get across to all of our elected representatives is that the majority of parts that we sell right now are being sold over the counter to the customer, so the customer is doing the vast majority of their repair,” Schmeiser said.

Another argument Schmeiser and NAEDA legal counsel are focusing on has ties to the Ukraine and Russian War where tractors were stolen by the Russian military.

“The manufacturer was able to remotely shut down those stolen tractors,” Schmeiser said. “So, if you open up the software on a tractor or combine potentially somebody could access that tractor remotely and shut it down. It becomes a threat to U.S. and Canadian agriculture.”

At this point, Schmeiser and NAEDA members hope Bill C-244 stalls out in the parliamentary process and procedures, as the bill currently has come out of Committee, but did not receive 3rd Reading prior to the House adjourning for the summer.

In June, NAEDA met with bill sponsor, Wilson Miao, MP for Richmond Centre, as part of the ongoing, yet focused lobbying effort undertaken on this bill.

“We’ve asked for changes,” Schmeiser said. “When we met with MP Miao, we expressed our concern that this bill will have unintended consequences for our industry if passed in its current form. So, we provided him with ex- emption language that we would like to see.”

There is some speculation that the Liberal Government will prorogue Parliament this summer and start a new session this fall. Also, rumours of a federal election are also out there.

If either of those things happen Bill C-244 is dead. However, regardless of if that doesn’t happen, NAEDA still is asking for everything to be put on hold, or for the bill to be amended. Additionally, NAEDA is also planning Right to Repair demonstrations later this year to continue to explain why an industry solution rather than legislation is warranted.

“We explained to MP Miao that in April, we met with the Canadian Federation of Agri- culture (CFA) and made a presentation on the issue, setting the stage for similar discussions on an MOU like in the U.S. Later this year, we plan to make a presentation at the CFA’s summer meeting. We will call it a ‘Right to Repair Demonstration’ where we will show all of the tools that are available to their delegates about how we support their repairs,” Schmeiser said. “Instead of being in the dark about what’s available, we’re going to take time to fill them in about everything that is available to them to repair their own equipment.”

The association has done this in Elmira, Ontario; Portage la Prairie, Manitoba; Emerald Park, Saskatchewan; and Red Deer, Alberta.

“In each of these meetings, we invited stakeholder groups and government officials, and we showed them the tools available through the industry commitment,” Schmeiser said. “They all pretty much agreed that we don’t need legislation because all of this stuff is there for purchase should the custom- er or third-party repair shop wish to.”

MP Miao encouraged NAEDA to keep working with the CFA but did not commit to pulling the bill back or amending it at this point. NAEDA also pointed out to him that the 2023-24 federal budget also made reference to industry consultations on right to repair, and that perhaps this bill was premature. MP Miao shared that Bill C-244 provided changes to The Copyright Act that will set the framework for these consultations later on.

Article Written by NAEDA Staff


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