Quebec license bureau : growing pains impact services for over a month
Since January 26, 2023, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) has greatly reduced its service offering in order to make a digital transition that will allow its clients to access new online options. Until February 20, and much to the dismay of many drivers, the implementation of the new computer system and the SAAQclic portal is making many in-branch operations impossible, in addition to imposing a delay in the delivery of new driver's licences. Although SAAQ points of service will remain open, citizens are invited to take note of the opening hours and the restricted services offered during this digital changeover.
Only those services deemed essential by the SAAQ will be maintained during the system's digital transition. For example, it will still be possible to replace a lost or stolen licence, issue a provisional licence, check the validity of the right to drive, take a practical test (on the road) in the case of a competency re-evaluation, a retake or a test postponed by the SAAQ only, request recognition of a new resident's driving experience and obtain an attestation of the right to drive. It will also be possible to replace a lost or stolen licence plate, to release a seized vehicle and to verify the right to register a vehicle. The compensation and road vehicle verification services (compliance, technical expertise, mechanical verification) remain active during the designated period. Automated bank debits (registration, driving licence) are not affected by the changes
Photo-taking will not be possible during the transitional period. Instead, an appointment will have to be made at a branch starting February 20. The same applies to the photo service for the Quebec health insurance card offered at SAAQ service points. Drivers whose licences expire between January 19 and February 20 will see the validity of their licences extended until February 24. In addition, it will not be possible for new holders of a driver education certificate to obtain a learner's permit until February 20. Theoretical tests (which usually require in-branch computer access) are suspended during the transition period. Only the practical tests already scheduled for the reasons mentioned above will take place, without printing a licence. Indeed, as the SAAQ indicates on its website, "NO LICENCES can be issued during this period. Test results will be entered as soon as the systems are back in service. If you pass your test, the service centre will schedule an appointment to give you your licence.” The booking of appointments (even if they are for a date after February 20) is suspended until the end of the transition period.
For more information, citizens are invited to consult the following link https://saaq.gouv.qc.ca/salle-presse/disponibilite-services, or to contact the toll-free number 1 (800)-361-7620.
Photo credit: Courtesy of the SAAQ
Photo caption: SAAQclic