On November 19, AIA Canada President Jean-François Champagne, and the head of the AIA Québec division, Patrick Saint-Pierre, hosted two virtual events as part of our ongoing advocacy work in the province of Québec. Attended by twenty-five government representatives, including members of Québec’s National Assembly (MNA), their advisors, and representatives from the offices of consumer protection, justice, and transportation, the meetings focused on the impacts that connected and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) will have on the industry and outlined solutions that will help industry mitigate disruptions. We were also pleased to welcome MNA Guy Ouellette, who tabled an anti-programmed obsolescence bill last year.
During the event, attendees heard how the important issue of right-to-repair applies to connected vehicles. Right-to-repair refers to the right of consumers to repair the goods that they own, including cellphones, computers, dishwashers and vehicles. Connected vehicles threaten consumers’ continued right to repair their vehicle at the service facility of their choice because they transmit diagnostic information wirelessly rather than through the OBD-II port. Automakers currently receive diagnostic information and control access to it. This gives automakers control over which third-parties can access vehicle information and on what terms, including price, scope and timing. Without intervention, this will remain the status quo.
The Government of Québec is pushing ZEV uptake. During the event, we asked government to consider the infrastructure that needs to be in place to repair and maintain a ZEV fleet, including a well-equipped aftermarket sector. Since ZEVs are more likely to be connected, it is critical that consumers continue to have the right to repair their vehicle. The industry’s workforce will need to be continuously upskilled in new vehicle technology. As well, shops will need to shift their business model from one that caters to a parts-based, internal combustion engine vehicle fleet, to one that caters to a fleet of software and electronic-defined, battery-equipped vehicles.
Following this event, AIA Canada has now connected with a third of Québec MNAs. We will continue to host meetings with Québec’s government to keep industry and its needs top of mind. We will also be involved in discussions with government on connected vehicles, pushing for vehicles to be included under right to repair legislation. Finally, AIA Canada will continue to raise awareness that more ZEVs on Québec’s roads will require a well-equipped aftermarket to service them.