(Quebec) The SAAQ fiasco cost 2.6 million in overtime employees of the Crown corporation, who worked hard to restore the situation. The firm PricewaterhouseCoopers will also sift through the failures of digital transformation.
These new details were revealed on Tuesday during the study of the budgetary appropriations of the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Transport-Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) component.
The new CEO of the Crown corporation, Éric Ducharme, indicated that as of April 27, more than $1.2 million has been paid in overtime for SAAQ workers. Added to that is $1.4 million in fees for extended hours and weekend bonuses, among other things, for a total spent so far of $2.6 million.
Unsurprisingly, the SAAQ fiasco was at the heart of questions from opposition parties during this accountability exercise.
Mr. Ducharme also revealed that the SAAQ and the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital have mandated the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a complete review of the sequence of decisions that led to this computer mess, which in March plunged the Legault government into a crisis.
The firm’s report is expected in the summer, Ducharme said. Liberal MP André A. Morin asked Minister Geneviève Guilbault to commit to making the document public when it is submitted. “I am committed to making the main conclusions public, but we will give ourselves the right to see it first and then we will see,” replied the Minister of Transport.
The study of budget appropriations made it possible to learn a little more about the steps that preceded the closing of the SAAQ offices for a period of three weeks, between January 27 and February 20, to implement the new system. Ms. Guilbault confirmed having had a first official presentation of the digital transformation project on November 2.
At that time, the scenario considered was to close the SAAQ offices during the holiday season to reopen in January. However, the SAAQ was not ready and on November 30, management chose to postpone the service interruption to January 27. “It was obvious to everyone in the room that this wasn’t the ideal scenario,” Ducharme said.
The CEO of the SAAQ still affirms today that it is difficult to say whether the previous management misjudged the effects of the implementation of the new system. Could we have done things differently, asked the supportive MP, Étienne Grandmont.
“I think that the mitigation measures could have been increased […] to be sure to have enough employees on site to meet the demand if ever there was a problem with the delivery of services”, admitted Mr. Ducharme. The training of workers was adequate, he argued, however, while more than 55,000 hours of training were given.