Tech lobbyists, backed by companies including Apple, have killed another Right to Repair bill, this time in Ontario.
The bill, put forward by Liberal MPP Michael Coteau, would have compelled companies to provide businesses and consumers with spare parts and repair manuals. It failed in its vote on Thursday after lobbying efforts.
“On Thursday, the bill had its second reading in Ontario parliament; essentially, a debate on whether the bill, in principle, is worthy of further debate, research, and discussion until it can be decided upon in its final form. While some MPPs urged their colleagues to vote yes on the bill simply to allow for further exploration of the issue, it faced staunch resistance from members of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.”
Coteau told the website that he was approached by an industry group called Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC). This group represents a number of tech companies, including Apple. “I had an Apple senior counsel fly in … to come and see me,” Coteau said.
They argued that people could injure themselves by fixing their own electronic devices. This is the same argument made about a similar bill in California. This also failed to pass recently after it was pulled. In that instance, lobbying was held up as a major reason.
Apple vs. Right to Repair
In addition to California and Ontario, Apple has previously fought legislation in other places like Nebraska. According to a recent report, Apple spent $9.6 million on lobbying last year, and $59.9 million since 2005. While only a small amount of that has involved Right to Repair legislation, it is still something Apple is concerned with.
It’s certainly possible to believe Apple when it says that it doesn’t want people accidentally damaging the lithium-ion batteries inside phones. However, at a time of falling smartphone sales, providing the tools to fix old handsets could also cause sales to fall even further.