SAAQ online portal causes roadblocks for Quebec RVers in Mexico
A relaxing winter getaway to Mexico turned into a travel nightmare for several Quebec residents who say they were without a registered vehicle because of a glitch in the provincial automobile insurance board's new online portal.
Every year, Richard Latreille and his wife leave their home in Gatineau, Que. to drive down south for an extended winter vacation in their RV.
There's a limit to how long they can stay — residents of Quebec can't be out of the province for longer than 183 days or else they become ineligible for health insurance.
The couple left home at the end of October, and Latreille said the plan was to return at the beginning of April. With their licence plate and registration set to expire before the end of March, they went online to renew as the usually do with the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
But Latreille said after logging into SAAQclic, the automobile insurance board's new online portal, there was no RV listed anywhere.
A three hour phone call with an agent revealed that because the RV was co-owned by two people, renewing its registration had to be done in person.
"We're in Mexico. We're not allowed to allowed to be in two places at the same time," Latreille said.
Latreille said after that phone call they had two options — fly to Quebec to go to an SAAQ office in-person, then fly back to Mexico to then drive the RV back to Quebec again, or hit the road with an unregistered vehicle, which is illegal.
"If we have an accident or something [goes] wrong, we would be would in big trouble."
Latrielle and his wife weren't alone. They travel with several other Quebecers, including Sylvie Gadbois, who is dealing with the same issue.
"I'm more and more stressed," Gabois said.
"We don't know what to do and we don't want to take the road without being legit."
Situation being resolved
Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters Monday she was aware of the issue and that her department was working on a solution.
It's the latest issue in a string of disruptions caused by the launch of SAAQ's new online system. The province recently extended several deadlines for services after offices saw long line ups and ongoing issues in response times.
Following requests for comment from Radio-Canada and CBC, a spokesperson with the SAAQ said people who co-own a recreational vehicle and are out of the province could write to an alternate email address, with their names and contact information.
Someone will then help register the vehicle under one name.
Latreille and Gadbois are now in touch with SAAQ and say the situation is being resolved.