SAAQ has granted leave to an employee who occupied a key position during the transition of services to its digital portal. While Quebecers are reeling from the crisis, the Director General of Communications and Public Relations is taking it easy under the Punta Cana sun.
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“Desktop notifications turned off, luggage locked, check-in complete: Punta Cana, here we come,” she wrote on her personal Facebook page on March 2.
Meanwhile, angry citizens are forced to queue for hours in front of SAAQ offices as they are unable to access services through the new SAAQclic portal. Prime Minister Francois Legault himself admitted last Friday that the situation was “unacceptable”.
Why are the management members of a public corporation granted leave when the situation is so complex and constant communication is required to inform the citizens?
“It’s not all about one person,” SAAQ spokeswoman Anne Marie Dussault Turcotte replied via email. All the vacations taken as part of spring break and planned for a long time regardless of people.
“We will make sure we have the right people to take on interim responsibilities for people on vacation, and teams are working to handle all the tasks,” she added.
- Listen to an interview with Jonathan Bolduc, a Trois-Rivières citizen who saw his vehicle impounded by the pound due to an error by SAAQ on QUB Radio:
Guilbault cuts a mission short
The chaos and long queues also forced Transport Minister Genevieve Guilbault, who returned from Europe, to shoulder her shoulder.
From March 1, the Deputy Prime Minister is in the Old Continent to learn about public transit funding mechanisms. After visiting the Paris Metro, she also flew to London and Stockholm, before returning to the country mid-week.
However, she chose to cut short her tour at a time when SAAQ was deeply shaken by this customer service crisis. The minister arrived in Quebec after 4pm on Tuesday.
Last June, Ms. Guilbault stood firm with the federal government during the passport crisis. “Half of our taxes go to the federal government. So it’s not normal for services to be underperforming,” she said at the time.
On Sunday, SAAQ announced that 150 employees would be reassigned to welcome customers and assist with online registration and work more hours to meet demand. April is likely to be back to normal.