SAAQ wait times continue to plague Aylmer residents months after original delay
On January 26 of this year, the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) announced that they would be reducing their services in order to make a digital transition that will allow clients to access more services online. SAAQ stated that the delays and service interruptions would last until February 20.
“Sometimes you have two or three hours to get one thing done. I might actually need to leave because I have work today. All this to renew my health card,” said Ally, a resident waiting in line at the SAAQ service point. “For older people, those who don’t have the ability to wait in long lines, or people with kids may have much more difficulty accessing the services. They need to improve their level of service.”
However, still today walking through the Galeries Aylmer, long lines of residents can be seen waiting hours at a time at the SAAQ Aylmer offices to access essential services. Some residents have filed complaints with the Protecteur du citoyen du Québec, the Québec Ombudsman office.
Gino Desrosiers, media relations officer and spokesperson for the SAAQ, notes that the Aylmer service point is managed by a third-party agent for the SAAQ, not the SAAQ directly. “Our team is working to support the agent, who has improved themethods of service in recent weeks. An increase in the number of transactions has already been observed,” said Desrosiers. “The agent is constantly striving to offer quality services. They are currently in the process of hiring new staff to improve turnaround times and offer more appointments.”
SAAQ announced on June 1 that drivers' licenses that expire between June 1 and September 1 are receiving a 90-day extension in order to reduce traffic at the Aylmer Service point. Residents who are receiving the extension will not have to go to an SAAQ branch to renew their license and update their photo. These individuals will receive a new license by mail. SAAQ says that, for these licenses, they will reuse the same photo and signature they have on file.
According to Desrosiers, this affects approximately 135,000 Quebec residents, which in turn will free up the same number of service point appointments.
“The wait times at the Aylmer office are beyond any acceptable measure,” said André Fortin, MNA for the Pontiac. “This is an issue that has been brought forward many times over the last few months directly in the National Assembly. It seems the CAQ Minister in charge of Digital Transformation has been using the SAAQ databases as a trial run for his new service. Clearly, it is a complete failure. Residentsexpect better from their government when it comes to providing basic services.”
Photo caption: Aylmer residents in line waiting to access SAAQ services at the Aylmer branch in the Galeries Aylmer on June 22.
Photo credit: Sophie Demers