Quebec extends deadlines in response to SAAQ crisis

Payment deadlines for some licences will be extended for up to 90 days

Quebec is extending the deadline for a number of the province’s automobile insurance board services as the SAAQ addresses ongoing disruptions.

Starting Thursday, driving licences that would expire between March 9 and June 1, 2023 will be extended. Payment deadlines will be extended for up to 90 days from the licence holder’s birthday.

The additional measures come after unions and members of Quebec’s opposition parties criticized the Coalition Avenir Québec government for its handling of the SAAQ service interruptions after the automobile insurance board launched a new online portal.

“Quebecers should not be penalized by the current situation,” Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault said in a statement Wednesday. “The safety of the population remains our priority, so any violation of the road safety will continue to be raised and sanctioned.”

Temporary registration certificates issued between March 9 and April 8 will also be extended from 10 to 60 days, giving new owners who buy their vehicle from a car dealer more time to register it.

As of March 9, foreign drivers’ licences will remain valid until Aug. 29.

Tickets waived

Any person who receives a ticket related to a SAAQ service that wasn’t performed in a timely manner since services were temporarily suspended on Jan. 26 ⁠— such as renewing their licence ⁠— won’t have to pay the fine, Guilbault said in an interview with Radio-CanadaMonday. 

“We’ve been speaking to our peace officers and obviously, you can’t instruct the police to stop issuing fines. It’s at their discretion. But still, people won’t be penalized,” she said.

RAMQ cards

Quebecers whose health insurance card expires between March 9 and June 1 will not have to go to a SAAQ service centre to renew their photo, Guilbault said Wednesday in an interview with Radio-Canada’s Tout un matin.

The SAAQ normally requires Quebecers to have their picture taken at its service centres for both their driver’s licence and Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) card. 

Exceptionally, the RAMQ will reuse Quebecers’ current photos to issue new cards in hopes of minimizing lineups at SAAQ branches.