SAAQ: Legault will “evaluate” the work of the CEO and the board of directors
Posted March 15, 2023 12:19 pm.
Last Updated March 15, 2023 12:25 pm.
Premier François Legault will “evaluate” in the coming weeks the work of the president and CEO and the board of directors of the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
This is what he said Tuesday at a press conference at the National Assembly. He added that at the end of this evaluation, he intends to take “the actions that are necessary”, without specifying which.
On Feb. 20, the SAAQ launched a new digital platform, SAAQclic, which has experienced several failures, forcing customers to queue for long hours at various points of service.
On Tuesday, Legault said there had been a “planning problem” at the SAAQ. He exonerated his ministers of Transport and Digital, Geneviève Guilbault and Éric Caire.
The latter had only an “advisory” role in the digital transformation, he said. “It is the SAAQ that has the final responsibility, including its IT department,” the premier ruled.
“What I want, (…) is to evaluate the work of the SAAQ board of directors and the SAAQ president, because there has obviously been a serious lack of planning,” he said.
Quebec Liberal Party interim leader Marc Tanguay rose in the House to ask him ironically if he would also “evaluate” the work of the Minister of Digital Affairs.
Legault replied that his minister simply could not “substitute” for the heads of each Crown corporation. “He can advise them. Ultimately, the final responsibility remains (…) with the Crown corporation.”
Mr. Caire then stood up to defend his job.
“There was no reason for the ministry to trigger an investigation and go deeper into what was going on at SAAQ,” he pleaded from his seat in the Blue Room.
- SAAQ: Quebec truckers worry they won’t be able to leave province
- SAAQ: Geneviève Guilbault admits planning and communication errors
- No need to go to the SAAQ to renew your health-insurance card
“By their own admission, they were in control of the situation and they were confident that they were on budget, on schedule and on scope,” he added.
A Parti Québécois (PQ) motion on the digital boondoggle was later defeated.
It asked the National Assembly to mandate the Commission de l’administration publique to hear Mr. Caire, Ms. Guilbault and the senior management of the SAAQ.
The PQ wanted them to “expose the facts that led to this dysfunction” and enlighten parliamentarians on the “corrective measures to be taken to succeed in the digital transition of the Government of Quebec”.
The Caquist government did not consent to the tabling of the motion.
Since the beginning of the crisis at the SAAQ, the government has announced a series of measures, including the extension of the validity of driver’s licenses that expired between January 26 and March 9.
In addition, additional staff will be available to assist individuals who are having difficulty registering on the government’s digital portal. The registration process will also be streamlined.
-This Canadian Press article was translated from French