Quebec truckers worry that problems with the auto board will force them to park their rigs – Montreal IG News

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Quebec’s Automobile Insurance Board continues to deal with long lines of frustrated motorists, with truckers worried they won’t be able to leave the province on April 1.

The Provincial Auto Insurance Board has been dealing with long lineups at many of its service centers since the launch of a new online portal on February 20, which users have had trouble accessing due to an authentication issue.

Richard Pellerin, a self-employed truck driver based in the province’s Maurici region, said he will have to park his rig if he does not receive his renewed registration. Truckers transporting goods outside Quebec are required to register under what is known as the International Registration Scheme.


Frustrated motorists are battling long lines at Quebec’s Automobile Insurance Board, with truckers worried they won’t be able to leave the province on April 1. Montreal, Monday, January 2, 2023.

The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes

“This issue affects all of us at the Auto Insurance Board, but especially for our industry, it is really registration that directly affects us, which expires for all of us on March 31,” Pellerin said. said in an interview.

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The new website was expected to streamline some transactions including license renewal, paying registration and booking exams. But it has turned into a major embarrassment for the board, known as the Société de la Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ), and for the government.

Read more: ‘We’ve got a handle on the situation’: Quebec’s transport minister announces new SOC measures

Quebec’s Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault cut short a European trip this week so she could return home to deal with foul-ups, announced a grace period for expiring licenses and other measures aimed at reducing the backlog at service centers .

But Pellerin said Thursday that he sees no sign that the situation is improving for truckers. “I really need to renew my international registration in order to work before March 31,” he said. “Otherwise, my company will be closed until I get that official document.” He said failure to renew it could cost him $30,000 a month.

Francis Rouleau, executive director of the Association des Routiers Professionnels du Québec, said the 150 members of his truckers association are concerned they could be fined if they travel outside Quebec without renewals.

Read more: Quebec’s transport minister cuts Europe travel as SAAQ crisis looms

“As long as the problem remains across the board on April 1, we will probably have many drivers with road violations and fines who will be very upset, and all because of a technical glitch,” Rouleau said.

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The plan, announced by Guilbeault, involves giving drivers whose licenses had expired in the past six weeks until June 1. Expiring Vehicle Registration Certificate has been extended for additional 60 days. Motorists will have more time to register new cars purchased at dealerships.

Additionally, the validity of foreign driver’s licenses will remain in place until August 29, so newcomers can apply for a Quebec-based license later.

On Monday, the board said it would bring on 150 additional staff at its service centers and extend opening hours. Demand is high because Quebec motorists have to pay every year to renew their licenses. In New Brunswick, a driver’s license is valid for four years, and in other provinces the standard is five years.

Read more: Quebec’s Auto Insurance Board expects services to return to normal by the end of April

Guilbeault, who visited a service center in Montreal on Friday, told reporters that preparations for the launch of the online portal had failed.

Guilbault said, “As far as I’m concerned, the planning work wasn’t done well, which means we ended up with queues that nobody expected, but there’s also the communication aspect.” “We probably didn’t do enough, and we’re learning from that.”

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The Automobile Insurance Board did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday and Friday.

Guilbeault said the board is giving priority to truck drivers and taxi drivers. “Under no circumstances will I accept that a truck driver cannot work from March 31 or April 1 because he was not able to get service,” she said.

“What I am told is that at this point in time, we are able to provide service to the truckers. We are meeting them on Monday and if I see any problem, we will fix it.”

Rouleau, however, said that truckers have not seen any evidence of a fast track for them. “People who are showing up to board with their paperwork for commercial transportation have to wait in line like everyone else. It’s like the message wasn’t sent to security or staff.

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