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'It was a fiasco' at the SAAQ, admits Digital Minister Eric Caire


The minister responsible for the digital sector, Éric Caire, admitted on Thursday "It's been a fiasco" at Quebec's auto insurance board. 

"It's true," he said in Salon Bleu. 

He was once again facing a barrage of criticism regarding the failed digital shift at the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Despite this, the minister maintains that nothing in November foreshadowed the crisis to come.

"The lights were green, the budget was respected, the deadlines were respected, the scope of the project was respected, the tests were done, the analyses were done," he said. "Why would we have prevented the deployment of this project, Madam President? In the end, the deployment was catastrophic, but the SAAQclic application works well."

Caire was forced to admit, however, that "it was a fiasco."

"Could we have prepared better? Could we have communicated better? Could the citizens have been better informed? The answer to that is yes," he said. "In terms of execution, it was a fiasco.

"What we are saying, with my colleague the deputy premier [Genevieve Guilbault], is that we will solve the problem, and then, after that, we will do an autopsy of this fiasco."

The opposition has been criticizing the Legault government for several days for not taking responsibility for the failures of the SAAQ's turnaround and instead pointing the finger at the administrators of the crown corporation.

Premier François Legault said Tuesday that he would "evaluate" the work of the SAAQ's president and CEO and board of directors in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport Geneviève Guilbault said that she had cut short her mission in Europe to come and manage the crisis at the SAAQ by herself.

"If there is one person who has taken responsibility for this situation, it is me," she said, "like all my colleagues in the government."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 16, 2023. Top Stories

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