Quebec’s transport minister, Geneviève Guilbault, admits that the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) — the province’s automobile insurance board — did a poor job planning its digital transition and communicating the implications of this transition to users.
Touring the Henri-Bourassa centre Friday morning, Guilbault said reducing long wait times and stress and getting drivers on the road were her top priorities.
Guilbault refuses, at least for the moment, to blame the leaders of the state corporation when it comes to the troubled launch of the digital system, which has caused delays for licence renewals, registrations and vehicle sales.
Facing mounting questions of blame from reporters, Guilbault promised that a retrospective analysis will shed light on the failures of this transition.
“There will be a postmortem when the time comes. I think the important thing now is to help stop people from waiting in lines for hours outside centres,” Guilbault said.
“That is what I am working on 24/7 for the past week now.”
Guilbault also announced a new mitigation measure: the extension until June 1 of the validity of driver’s licences that had expired between Jan. 26 and March 9.
This measure is in addition to a series of other accommodations aimed at not penalizing drivers.
Truckers and taxi drivers who need a permit for work will be prioritized.
Starting Monday, staff will be available to help people register online in person at seven centres across Quebec.