Add a bookmark to get started

27 June 20233 minute read

Quebec proposes amendments to consumer protection legislation

On June 1, 2023, Quebec tabled Bill 29, An Act to protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods, which proposes amendments to its Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”). If adopted, Bill 29 would modify the CPA to include provisions related to:  planned obsolescence, warranties on consumer goods, standardizing charging hardware for mobile devices, and the right to repair. Each of these proposed amendments are summarized below:

Planned obsolescence

As consumption patterns have evolved, planned obsolescence, namely, the practice of designing products to stop working or to become less useful over their lifespan has come to the fore. Bill 29 amendments would prohibit manufacturers and sellers of goods from carrying on in the business of selling goods which have been designed with the use of techniques aimed at reducing their normal operating life.

Bolstered warranties on consumer goods

The amendments targeting planned obsolescence are also bolstered by strengthened warranty requirements for certain consumer goods. Bill 29 would require that contracts of sale or long-term leases include a warranty covering parts and labour for a duration determined by regulation for the following products: ranges, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, television sets, computers, tablets, cellular telephones, video game consoles, ‎air conditioners, heat pumps, and any other goods to be determined by regulation.

Standardized charging

Bill 29 proposes to amend the CPA through the adoption of regulations aimed at “determining standards for ensuring interoperability between goods and chargers” In other words, these proposals would allow for the enforcement of a standard of interoperability for goods and chargers to simplify charging and reduce waste, namely by reducing the number of different chargers required to operate everyday devices. Bill 29 does not currently include any defined standards or a proposed list of devices, though mobile devices such as smartphones appear to be the target of this proposed legislation.

Right to repair

Bill 29 proposes to mandate more comprehensive right to repair provisions. The new proposed amendments to the CPA provide that goods requiring any form of maintenance or repair must have their replacement parts, repair services and information, diagnostic software, and applicable updates made available to consumers. It must also be possible to perform these repairs using commonly available tools without damaging the goods. If adopted, these amendments would also prohibit the application of techniques that would render repairs more difficult. The proposed legislation specifically targets restricted access to diagnostic information related to automobiles.

At this stage, Bill 29 has merely been tabled at the National Assembly. We will continue to follow the progress of this Bill in the legislature and will report on updates in due course.