The Quebec government rolled out a fresh wave of measures to deal with the ongoing crisis at the province’s automobile insurance board Wednesday.
Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault cut her Europe trip short earlier this week as problems continue to plague the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
“Quebecers should not be penalized by the current situation,” she said in a statement issued early Wednesday.
The latest plan comes as customers face long lines and lengthy wait times for services at SAAQ outlets after an online overhaul didn’t go as planned.
The SAAQ underwent a digital transformation earlier this winter, but the new online platform — which was supposed to be fully up and running by Feb. 20 — is still not fully functional.
Among the new mitigation efforts includes extending the validity of drivers’ licences set to expire between March 9 and June 1. This means licence holders will have 90 additional days from their birthdate to make the payment.
The plan also affects vehicle registration certificates issued between March 9 and April 8. Those registrations will now be valid for 60 days, instead of 10. The government says this will give drivers who buy a car from a dealership more time to register their vehicle.
The last measure is extending the validity of international drivers’ licences until Aug. 29 so newcomers don’t have to apply for a Quebec-based licence right away.
The latest steps come after the province hired 150 additional workers and prolonged operating hours at some SAAQ service outlets to help alleviate long lines. But clients told Global News this week those efforts have done little to resolve the ongoing issues.
The board’s new digital platform was supposed to allow customers to carry out most transactions online. Since its launch on Feb. 20, about 103,000 Quebecers have successfully used it among the 335,000 customers served.
The SAAQ has said it could take until the end of April for services to be fully restored.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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