The Quebec government wants to ban the sale of products that aren't intended to last and reinforce consumers' ability to repair the products they buy.

It says planned obsolescence and steps taken by manufactures to limit the ability of consumers to repair products are costing Quebecers thousands of dollars and hurting the environment. 

"It's normal that these goods need maintenance or repairs from time to time. What's not normal is that replacement parts aren't available or the device breaks when you try to repair it," Kariane Bourassa, the parliamentary assistant to the minister of justice, told reporters in Quebec City. 

A bill introduced by the province's justice minister Thursday would ban the sale of products whose obsolescence is planned as well as require manufacturers and retailers to ensure replacement parts and repair services are available at a reasonable price for the products they sell in the province.

If the bill is adopted, manufacturers would also be required to ensure products can be repaired with ordinary tools and without causing irreversible damage.

"It's unacceptable that perfectly functional device is equipped with an apparatus that prevents if from working normally after a certain amount of time. It's also intolerable that an electronic device is deliberately designed so that its evolution is limited. The negative impact on Quebecers' wallets can't be ignored, neither can the repercussions on our environment," Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said at the news conference.

The bill would also create a "warranty of good working order" -- a specific time frame for different types of products during which manufacturers would be required to repair them. 

Also included in the bill are requirements that car manufacturers ensure their vehicles can be repaired by any mechanic, and not just at affiliated dealerships, and that those manufacturers make vehicle data needed to diagnose issues available to owners and long-term lessors, or their mechanics.

Jolin-Barrette said the bill also includes an "anti-lemon" measure that would allow people who purchased a vehicle within the previous three years to have that vehicle declared "seriously defective" by a court and cancel their purchase contract if major issues persist after multiple repair attempts.

He said the proposed measure is the first of its kind in Canada but that similar measures exist in all 50 states of the United States. 

The bill would also begin the process of establishing a universal charger that would be required to work with all electronic devices. That step has been taken by the European Union, which will require most portable electronic devices to work with USB-C charging points by the end of 2024.

If the Quebec law is passed, it would includes fines of up to $125,000 for violations. Businesses can also be fined four times any profit they made as a result of a violation of the law. 

Alissa Centivany, a professor at Western University in London, Ont., who has advocated for people's ability to repair their devices, said she thinks Quebec is taking a bold step.  

"This is a really exciting step forward. Who knows how it will unfold, but this is a great sign and I'm hopeful that it will be successful. And I'm hopeful that other provinces will take Quebec's lead here and propose similar law," she said in an interview. 

The province's opposition parties have said they are open to the Coalition Avenir Québec government initiative, and the Liberals have introduced a similar bill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023. 

With files from Thomas Laberge in Quebec City.