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Could Canada soon standardize USB chargers? Feds looking into it, budget says

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You could soon say goodbye to that tangle of cords in your drawer, or having to buy different chargers for each of your electronic devices.

Tucked into the 2023 federal budget unveiled on Tuesday in Ottawa, the Liberals have announced plans to explore implementing a standard charging port across Canada, in an effort to save Canadians some money and reduce waste.

"Every time Canadians purchase new devices, they need to buy new chargers to go along with them, which drives up costs and increases electronic waste," reads the budget, tabled by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. 

 

While details remain scarce, the federal government is pledging to "work with international partners and other stakeholders to explore implementing a standard charging port in Canada."

This move follows in the footsteps of the European Union, which has moved to mandate USB-C charging ports for all small handheld devices and laptops by the end of 2024.

'RIGHT TO REPAIR'

In another effort that may clear up some clutter at your place, the Liberals say they will work to implement a right to repair for products such as electronic devices and home appliances.

This would make it easier for people to get products fixed instead of being forced to replace them, the government says.

"When it comes to broken appliances or devices, high repair fees and a lack of access to specific parts often mean Canadians are pushed to buy new products rather than repairing the ones they have," reads the budget.

"Devices and appliances should be easy to repair, spare parts should be readily accessible, and companies should not be able to prevent repairs with complex programming or hard-to-obtain bespoke parts."

The government says it will aim to introduce a "targeted framework" for a right to repair home appliances and electronics in 2024, that could see easy cellphone fixes done at the mall rather than having to go through the device's manufacturer, for example.

It is also launching public consultations this summer, including on the right to repair farm equipment, and work closely with the provinces and territories to advance its implementation.

The two measures are among several in the budget that the government says they are introducing with the aim of making life more affordable.

Other initiatives earmarked in the 2023 federal spending plan include the much-talked about grocery rebate for lower-income Canadians, a crackdown on junk fees such as roaming charges and concert fees, and lower credit card transaction fees for small businesses.

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