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The Federal Government Makes Changes to Some of its Top Cabinet Positions. How does this impact Canada’s automotive aftermarket?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shuffled his cabinet in response to Navdeep Bains' retirement from the federal cabinet position of Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Departing his role as Minister of Foreign Affairs to fill Bain’s former position is the Honorable François-Philippe Champagne.  Leaving his role as Minister of Transport to fill Champagne’s former role is the Honorable Marc Garneau. And finally, taking over as Minister of Transport, is Omar Alghabra, Liberal MP for Mississauga Centre.

The cabinet shuffle may have consequences for the aftermarket industry. Minister Bains was actively involved in introducing Bill C-11, Canada’s Digital Charter Implementation Act. The Act is intended to give Canadians more control over their information in the digital age. The Act would entail giving Canadians more freedom to move their data from one organization to another. It would also require companies to consent from customers using plain language that details how the information would be used and any reasonably foreseeable consequences of data use. If passed, the aftermarket industry stands to benefit as vehicle owners would have more control and choice when it comes to which auto service providers they share their vehicle’s wireless data. This is particularly important considering that by 2022, 70 to 90 percent of vehicles on Canada’s roads will be connected. On the bright side, in his previous post as Foreign Affairs Minister, Champagne was very in tune with what was going on in the European Union (EU). The EU is light years ahead of the global community regarding government activity related to privacy and data handling.  Champagne may be inclined to align Canada with the forward-thinking pursuits of the EU on these matters.

The departure of Minister Garneau from Transport to Foreign Affairs is interesting as Garneau is not expected to run in the next election. Trudeau decided to shuffle Garneau into this critical ministerial position as he was hesitant to elevate a brand new cabinet member when a new administration is about to be sworn-in south of the border.

As early as spring 2021, an election could be forced by introducing a budget that contains a wide array of recovery measures. Should an election be called, the Liberals are counting on Minister Champagne’s appointment to help them as the  Liberals’ best hope to return to a majority runs through Quebec's province where Champagne is MP of Saint-Maurice—Champlain.