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SAAQ adding staff, stepping up measures to deal with continued delays

Quebec’s Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), the government body responsible for licensing drivers and providing public auto insurance in the province will add 150 workers starting Monday.

The additional staff will be assigned to work at the branches experiencing the highest traffic and lines due to its halted services while it’s updating its computer systems to move its transactions online (SAAQclic online portal).

“Depending on traffic, hours of operation will be moved up in the morning as well as extended at the end of the day and services will be offered by appointment on weekends,” said a statement issued Sunday morning.

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

“I have asked that Quebecers no longer wait outside, and that the service be of quality everywhere,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport Geneviève Guilbault in a tweet on her official Twitter account.

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Starting Monday, it will be possible for people who need to get to the queues to consult the daily capacity of each service center in advance on the SAAQ website.

“Self-service digital kiosks will be added in the branches,” the statement added.

On Friday, Premier François Legault denounced the situation, which he called “unacceptable” at the SAAQ, and demanded corrections.

READ MORE: Problems continue for Quebec auto insurance board’s new online service

Launched on February 20, the SAAQ’s digital platform was to allow customers to make most transactions online.

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The objective was to be more efficient, to facilitate the renewal of the driver’s license, payment of registration or the booking of an appointment for a driving test, among others.

New measures have therefore been taken to facilitate the creation of an SAAQclic account when registering online. In about a week, starting March 13, it will be possible to obtain your notice of assessment number by phone instead of by mail.

The authentication process will also be simplified at some SAAQ branches, using two pieces of identification instead of four: a health insurance card and a driver’s license.

READ MORE: Limited services at Quebec auto insurance board leaves driver without car

Car dealers, who are also affected by the computer problems at SAAQ, should also find it easier to reach someone on the phone as 15 additional employees will answer calls to the SAAQ support line.

A major update to the SAAQclic Merchants portal was announced over the weekend and an email box will be dedicated to reporting merchant difficulties.

According to data provided by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, it processes over 25 million transactions annually.

“The slowdown of activities during the transition period to SAAQclic caused the displacement of 430,000 transactions,” the release states.

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Since the launch of the new SAAQclic platform on Feb. 20, 103,000 Quebecers have successfully used it among the 335,000 clients served by the SAAQ.

— With files from Alessia Maratta, Global News

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