Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital, Éric Caire , last December
The Minister of Cybersecurity and Digital, Éric Caire, says he is ready to appear before a parliamentary committee if necessary to answer questions concerning the slippages linked to the digital shift of the Société de l' Quebec automobile insurance (SAAQ). However, he denies having been informed months ago of the possible failures of the new SAAQclic portal.
Passing through the SAAQ branch at Carrefour Langelier on Monday with the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault, Éric Caire maintained that in due course, an “autopsy” of this crisis would be carried out.
“Parliamentary committees are sovereign. They make their decisions. So if the commission decides to take up the initiative and summons me, I will most certainly respond to this summons, “he said when questioned on the request of the liberal opposition that he explained before this body.
On the eve of the return of the deputies to the National Assembly, Mr. Caire nevertheless insisted on recalling that the opposition had the possibility of questioning the ministers in the chamber, in particular during question period.
Éric Caire admitted that the communications made to the population concerning the Government Authentication Service (SAG) had been insufficient. On the other hand, he denied having been informed last summer of the potential fiasco to come with the SAAQclic portal, as Le Journal de Montréal reported last Thursday. “The parliamentary office is wrong, and I have documents that prove that as early as June, the SAAQ told us that everything was open, that expenses were below what had been budgeted and that they were confident of deliver the system on January 3. »
He did not want to point the finger at anyone responsible for the failures of the system. “Today, what we want is to solve the problem. What we want is for Quebecers to have services within a reasonable time and for them to leave the SAAQ offices with a smile, he said. Afterwards, we will do the autopsy of all that. Have no fear, all the questions will be asked and we will get the answers. But for now, I think what people want is service. The culprits will not save themselves. »
The Minister also claims that no security incident or identity theft has been detected in connection with SAAQclic and its 116,000 accounts created. “It should be understood that the Government Authentication Service [GAS] will eventually be the service used by all government digital services. So we don't want Mary Poppins or Luke Skywalker to be able to open an SAAQ account. »
Inform about waiting times
Although the queues have been partially reduced at SAAQ branches, Quebec has asked all points of service as well as agents to display the average waiting times.
According to Minister Guilbault, as of Tuesday, many points of service should be able to provide this information. “People will at least get an idea of what's available and be able to better plan their trips,” she pointed out.
Since Monday morning, additional staff has been present in seven SAAQ branches, namely in Montreal, Laval, Longueuil, Quebec City, Gatineau, Saguenay and Drummondville, to help people having difficulty s register on the government's digital portal. “If it works well, we can deploy it elsewhere,” said Geneviève Guilbault.
The Minister also announced that she had signed a decree allowing the postponement to June 12 of the deadline for the registration of truckers in the International Registration Plan, registration which expired on March 31. “None will suffer any consequences from the fact that we may have certain slowdowns in various SAAQ service points,” she said. This measure will apply to all of the approximately 5,050 truckers affected, even if some of them can take the steps online.
Last Friday, Ms. Guilbault had also announced the extension, until on June 1, the validity of driving licenses that expired between January 26 and March 9.
Geneviève Guilbault, who cut short her trip to Europe to deal with the crisis at the SAAQ , recalled the importance of the digital shift undertaken at the SAAQ. “The reason we made this shift at the SAAQ is to have modern, efficient and forward-looking government online services. We cannot at the same time laugh at the government with its faxes and wonder why we are making this shift towards online digital services. I think we should all be behind the SAAQ project. […] It’s a big challenge. »