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Legault will 'evaluate' work of SAAQ CEO and board of directors

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QUEBEC CITY -

Premier François Legault will evaluate the CEO and board of directors of Quebec's auto insurance board (SAAQ) in the coming weeks.

Legault said he intends to take "the necessary actions" at the evaluation's end.

He made the announcement Tuesday during a press conference at the National Assembly.

On February 20, the SAAQ launched its new digital platform SAAQclic, which has been riddled with issues, forcing customers to line up for long hours at service centres.

On Tuesday, Legault said there had been a "planning problem" at the SAAQ. He exonerated his ministers of Transport and Digital, Geneviève Guilbault and Eric 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 digital department," said the premier.

"What I want to do (...) is 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, in an ironic tone, if he would also 'evaluate' the work of the minister of cybersecurity and digital technology.

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," he said.

LISTEN on CJAD 800 Radio: Mulcair: who is Legault going to blame for the SAAQ mess?

Caire then stood up to defend his work.

"There was no reason for the ministry to launch an investigation and go deeper into what was going on at the SAAQ," he argued from his seat in the Blue Room.

"They were in control of the situation, and they were confident that they were on budget, on time and on scope," he added.

The government has announced several measures over the past week to keep drivers from being penalized over the backlog, including extending the validity period of driver's licenses.

More staff were also deployed to service centres to help those with difficulty registering on the government's digital portal.

-This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 14, 2023. 

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