Quebec’s auto insurance board hopes services will be back to normal end of April

Click to play video: 'SAAQ’s digital overhaul leads to headaches for Quebec drivers'
SAAQ’s digital overhaul leads to headaches for Quebec drivers
WATCH: The SAAQ's new online platform was supposed to be up and running smoothly by now. But clients say the Quebec automobile insurance board’s services are worse than ever following the so-called digital transformation. And as Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, the issues won't be resolved until mid-April. – Mar 2, 2023

Long lineups that stretch around the building — that’s what people trying to get services at Quebec’s auto insurance board are facing.

“It’s been a mess, big mess,” said David Whiskeychen, who says he had been lining up at the service centre on St-Jacques Street for two and a half hours without moving on Thursday.

Most people in the lineup have been waiting for over two hours and say they haven’t moved at all.

Bara Eibraas says he’s been lining up for three days because he tried to get an appointment online, but the first one available was only for March 30th and he needs to sell his car now.

“It makes me mad,” Eibraas told Global News. “It’s cold, it’s very cold.”

The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) halted most services during February while it updated its computer system to move to online transactions.

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The insurance board promised the pain would only last 20 days. Now they say it’ll take until the end of April before things return to normal.

“We’re speaking about 400,000 transactions that weren’t done,” said Dave Leclerc, SAAQ’s vice-president of strategic marketing.

Leclerc says about half the people who are showing up to service centres could’ve gotten their services online.

Jayson Sharda was one of those people.

He says he waited eight hours to renew his driver’s licence on Monday because the website wasn’t working.

“There’s no appointments available, there’s no way to do any of this stuff online. The system isn’t working,” Sharda says. “It’s super frustrating.”

Quebec’s transport minister, Geneviève Guilbault, said on Twitter she’s keeping an eye on the matter.

“I speak regularly to the head of the SAAQ to ensure there is a plan in place to offer effective services to Quebecers in branches. Opening hours will be extended and identification will be simplified, among other things,” Guilbault said.

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“I’ll continue to monitor the situation.”

The insurance board says employees will be able to help customers with identification starting March 13th.

They are asking people to be patient and to check their website for frequently-asked questions instead of showing up to face the long lineups.

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