The Debate over Right to Repair in Agriculture

What role for provincial government?

Canada West Foundation Webinar
Monday, November 21, 2022
12 pm to 12:45 pm (MT)

Farm equipment breakdown during Canada’s short planting and harvest seasons is literally a make-or-break issue for farmers. Gone are the days when a farmer could pick up a toolbox, complete a quick repair and get back to the harvest. Modern digital technologies and common industry practice mean farmers no longer have easy access to the parts, tools (including software) and information needed to make the fix. Instead, they are reliant on dealer technicians that have exclusive access to repair software – causing costly delays and repair bills.

Farmers seek right to repair equipment

Farm advocates are arguing farmers have a right to repair equipment they own and should have access to the tools they need including the ability to open digital locks to software that controls the equipment. In recognition of the special circumstances of agricultural producers, governments are deliberating action, farmers and ag organizations are debating the issue, and equipment manufacturers and dealers are responding with solutions.

U.S. action could impact Canadian ag industry

Of particular potential impact to Canada, the U.S. federal and over a dozen state governments have or are considering action to expand the ability of farmers to fix their equipment. Here, history is looking to repeat itself. In the early 2010s, when Canada and the U.S. were considering whether auto manufacturers could require that cars only be serviced at dealerships, an agreement in Massachusetts between the auto industry and the state preventing this restriction was quickly expanded to include all 50 states and Canada.

What happens at the U.S. state level is important especially because in Canada, there has, once again, not been movement at the provincial level on right to repair. This despite the century-long history of mandating servicing of agricultural equipment by prairie provinces.

Given historic precedent, it is critical for Canadian policy makers and stakeholders to understand the U.S. policy environment and consider potential implications for Canada. Join us as our panelists walk through the issues to understand what is happening in the U.S. and consider options from various perspectives as to what, if anything, Canadian provinces should do.


Elizabeth Chamberlain | Director of Sustainability at iFixit

Elizabeth Chamberlain is Director of Sustainability at iFixit, the global repair resource with over 80,000 step-by-step guides for how to fix everything from your toaster to your tractor. She advocates for repair legislation and more repair-friendly green standards around the world. Her writing on repair issues has been published in Wired, The Atlantic, and The Wall Street Journal.

Willie Cade | CEO, Graceful Solutions

Willie Cade is the CEO of Graceful Solutions and founder of the Electronics Reuse Conference. Willie is the grandson of Theo Brown, board member of John Deere & Co for 30 years and prolific inventor including 38 patents on the manure spreader.

Gay Gordon-Byrne | Executive Director, The Repair Association

After a 40-year career in enterprise computing, Gay Gordon-Byrne is now an advocate for the right to repair the things we buy. Equipment manufacturers make it difficult for businesses and consumers to buy essential repair parts and tools, leaving consumers with no option other than to throw away, buy new or go without. This practice spurred her to volunteer for a committee seeking to keep the business of repair viable which became the start of The Digital Right to Repair Coalition, where she has been the executive director since its founding in 2013.

Eric Wareham | Vice President, Government Affairs, North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA)

Eric Wareham is vice president of government affairs for NAEDA. He has extensive legal and policy experience in both a trade association and the private sector. Prior to joining the association, he was general counsel for an Oregon-based heavy civil construction company and served as the director of government relations and general counsel for an association in the wood products industry. He has managed state and national political campaigns and held numerous positions in a state legislature. Wareham is a graduate of the Willamette University College of Law and Augusta University


Carlo Dade | Director, CWF Trade and Investment Centre

The Debate over Right to Repair in Agriculture: What role for provincial government?
Canada West Foundation Webinar
Monday, November 21, 2022
12 pm to 12:45 pm (MT)
Register here