A relaxing winter getaway in Mexico turned into a travel nightmare for several Quebec residents who say they didn’t have a registered vehicle due to a glitch in the provincial commission’s new online portal. car insurance.
Every year, Richard Latreille and his wife leave their home in Gatineau, Quebec. drive south for an extended winter vacation in their RV.
There is a limit to the length of their stay – residents of Quebec cannot be out of the province for more than 183 days or they become ineligible for health insurance.
The couple left the house at the end of October and Latreille said the plan was to return in early April. With their license plate and registration set to expire before the end of March, they went online to renew as they usually do with the Quebec Automobile Insurance Corporation (SAAQ).
But Latreille said after logging on to SAAQclic, the auto insurance commission’s new online portal, there were no RVs listed anywhere.
A three-hour phone call with an agent revealed that since the RV was jointly owned by two people, its registration renewal had to be done in person.
“We are in Mexico. We are not allowed to be in two places at the same time,” Latreille said.
Latreille said that after that phone call, they had two options – fly to Quebec City to get to an SAAQ office in person, then fly back to Mexico to then bring the RV back to Quebec again, or hit the road with a unregistered vehicle, which is illegal.
“If we have an accident or something [goes] wrong, we’d be in big trouble.”
Latrielle and his wife were not alone. They travel with several other Quebecers, including Sylvie Gadbois, struggling with the same problem.
“I’m more and more stressed,” said Gabois.
“We don’t know what to do and we don’t want to hit the road without being legit.”
Situation being resolved
Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters on Monday that she was aware of the problem and that her department was working on a solution.
This is the latest issue in a series of disruptions caused by the launch of the SAAQ’s new online system. The province recently extended several deadlines for services after offices saw long lines and ongoing issues with response times.
Following requests for comment from Radio-Canada and CBC, a spokesperson for the SAAQ said that co-owners of a recreational vehicle and who are outside the province could write to another email address, with their names and contact details.
Someone will then help register the vehicle under one name.
Latreille and Gadbois are now in contact with the SAAQ and say the situation is being resolved.