Quebec tables bill to adopt universal charging standard for smartphones
The days of missing the right charger for your cellphone could be a thing of the past in Quebec.
A new bill tabled in the provincial legislature Thursday aims to amend the Consumer Protection Act to require universal charging for devices like smartphones and tablets.
According to Bill 29, An Act to protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods, would give Quebec the "regulatory power to determine technical or manufacturing standards for goods, including standards for interoperability between goods and chargers."
Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette introduced the bill.
The federal government already has its eyes set on a similar law. Tucked into the March 2023 budget, the Liberal government announced plans to implement a standard charging port across Canada in order to save Canadians money and reduce electronic waste.
Last year, the European Parliament passed a law to force Apple and other cellphone manufacturers to adopt the USB-C charging standard, which is already used by many Android devices around the world. The new EU law will take effect on Dec. 28, 2024.
PROTECTIONS FOR CAR OWNERS
Bill 29 has several other provisions aimed at preventing what the government calls "planned obsolescence" or, in other words, devices breaking down right after their warranties expire. If a company is found to be taking part in the practice, it could face sanctions under the Quebec law, if it is passed.
Minister Jolin-Barrette said he wants Quebec "to be a leader" in the consumer protection field by introducing its own law, as other U.S. states have already done.
Marwah Rizqy, the Quebec Liberal Party's consumer protection critic, said she spoke with Jolin-Barrette about the bill and supports it.
"He said, 'It's a very good bill you introduced. Do you mind if I put my name on it?' I said, 'Go ahead, I have no ego' because we need the bill," she said in a press scrum Thursday.
"Consumers are tired and exhausted of paying [for] their dryer and washer, more than $4,000, and after four years, right after the warranty is over — oh, it doesn't work."
Bill 29 also brings in anti-lemon laws for cars owners. It will require manufacturers to provide a car's data and repair history for free. The proposed legislation would also mandate consumers who purchase a vehicle to be entitled to an inspection free of charge before the end of the lease.
The bill would force manufacturers to repair certain goods at "a reasonable price" to avoid having the consumer discard them all together.