COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the exceptional situation presented by COVID-19, and in order to limit the spread of the virus, we have put some preventive measures in place in order to ensure your safety and that of our employees. These measures may impact your procedures that are currently underway, your renewals, or your medical follow-ups.

We are therefore providing answers to some common questions that you may have. We invite you to read this FAQ before calling us or going to a service outlet. It is being updated frequently so that you can find out how you should proceed, depending on your situation.

Last update: April 3, 2020

1 - Available Services

Which essential services are currently available in service outlets?

The SAAQ’s essential services will be provided on an appointment-only basis from now on, and only to people working in priority sectors.

The essential services offered in service outlets are:

  • the issuance of a driver’s licence
  • the renewal of a driver’s licence for drivers who must operate their vehicles outside of Québec
  • the replacement of a lost, stolen or damaged driver’s licence
  • the issuance of a driver’s licence authorizing its holder to drive a vehicle that is equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device further to a penalty
  • the issuance of a new licence at the end of a penalty period
  • the administration of knowledge tests
  • the issuance and renewal of vehicle registrations, when the vehicles in question must travel outside Québec 
  • the replacement of a lost or stolen licence plate (damaged plates are not being replaced for the time being)

All other services, such as transferring ownership of a vehicle between individuals, taking photos, and issuing a driver’s licence for personal use or for travel to work, are no longer offered at the moment.

However, please note that our online services remain available for citizens, businesses and external suppliers and partners (link in French only).

How do I make an appointment for an essential service at a service outlet?

To make an appointment, please call 1-800-361-7620. A preliminary analysis will be carried out with you and your request will then be forwarded to the service centre or road vehicle inspection agent nearest you.

The service centre or inspection agent will call you to analyze your needs and schedule an appointment if the service you want to receive qualifies as an essential service. Make sure to have on hand the documents required to complete the operation in question.  

What documents will I have to provide when I go to my appointment for an essential service at a service outlet?

To make sure that the service requested qualifies as an essential service, we will require that you provide a letter from your employer confirming that the job you hold falls under a priority service or activity. Certain exceptions apply to heavy vehicle drivers whose business takes them outside Québec. 

What are the “preventive measures” that are displayed at the entrances of service outlets?

Due to the exceptional situation presented by COVID-19, we must ensure that your state of health poses no risk to other clients or to our employees. Therefore, our employees have been instructed to ask you some questions regarding your state of health and to limit the number of people gathered in one place.

When you go to your appointment, it is important that you comply with all the applicable health and hygiene rules (do not go to your appointment if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, keep a distance of at least 2 metres from other people, pay by cheque or with a debit card only).

Can I go to an SAAQ service outlet if I travelled outside Canada and returned on or after March 12, 2020?

You must respect the isolation period recommended by the public health authorities. This means that you must not go to any of our service outlets, in order to avoid compromising the health and safety of other clients and our employees.

Will wait times be longer than usual?

Wait times may be longer than usual given that our employees are also subject to government restrictions. Some employees are also affected by school and daycare closures, for example. However, rest assured that we are making every effort to continue to offer quality services.

2 - Driver’s Licence and Health Insurance Card

I have a probationary licence for driving a passenger vehicle or motorcycle and would like to renew it. Given that it is currently not possible to renew probationary licences, will lenience be shown? Am I still allowed to drive?

Keep the probationary licence you have, even it is about to expire or has already expired. Given the current situation, the administrative lenience police officers have been asked to show also applies to this type of licence.

I received a notice to renew my Health Insurance Card or driver’s licence. Do I have to go to a service outlet to have a new photo taken?

We ask that you NOT go to a service outlets and that you keep the driver’s licence you currently hold, regardless of its expiry date. Given the current circumstances, we have asked police forces to show administrative lenience and avoid penalizing drivers whose licences are expiring. With regard to the Health Insurance Card, we invite you to visit the website of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.

I lost my driver’s licence. Can I get a replacement at a service outlet?

You can have your driver’s licence replaced at a service outlet only if you work in a sector that has been deemed essential, in which case you must make an appointment.

I have met all the conditions to obtain a new licence further to a penalty. Can I go to a service outlet to obtain my new licence?

You can obtain a new licence at a service outlet only if you work in a sector that has been deemed essential, in which case you must make an appointment.

Can I pay my driver’s licence online even if the deadline has passed?

Your driver’s licence can be renewed online. We recommend that you make your payment through your financial institution even if the deadline has passed. Our partner organizations have been informed and will show lenience in this regard.

What is going to happen with my pre-authorized debits for the payment of my driver’s licence fees?

Pre-authorized debits will continue for anyone who chose to pay their driver’s licence fees using this method. If you do not want your bank account to be debited, please contact your financial institution to have the debits cancelled. 

Should a debit be refused, the SAAQ will not charge the $35 fee that would normally apply. However, the SAAQ is not responsible for any service fees your financial institution may charge you. We therefore suggest that you contact your financial institution for more information.

If you would like to pay your driver’s licence fees in a single instalment, please refer to the page concerning the payment of renewal fees.  

The SAAQ has suspended my driver’s licence because of unpaid fines. Can I go to a municipal court or a courthouse to pay the fines in question in order to have the suspension lifted?

In the case of statements of offence served by the Sûreté du Québec, Contrôle routier Québec or the Agence métropolitaine des transports (AMT), please make your payment online, via the website of the Bureau des infractions et amendes, or by calling 1-877-263-6337.

For any other fines or tickets, payment must be made at your local municipal court, either online or by phone. Refer to the website of your local municipal court for more information.

Please note that your licence will remain suspended until you have received written confirmation from the SAAQ that the suspension has been lifted. You will receive confirmation by mail as soon as your payment has been processed. 

3 - Driving Tests (Knowledge and Road Tests)

Should I go to my driving test (knowledge or road test)?

We will contact all clients who currently have a driving test scheduled in order to postpone them to a later date, which is yet to be determined.

To comply with public health measures that require keeping a social distance of at least 2 metres, we must temporarily suspend all road tests. Options are currently being considered in order to be able to offer this service again as soon as possible. 

Do I have to pay fees for the cancellation of my driving test appointment (knowledge or road test)?

No fees will be charged for cancelled knowledge and road tests.

I have a test for the reassessment of my abilities. Will I lose my driving privilege if I do not go to my test?

The deadlines with regard to a mandatory reassessment of driving ability will be extended to allow you to undergo the assessment at a later date. If you have an appointment, the SAAQ will contact you in order to reschedule.

I have to take a test in order to obtain a class of licence that would allow me to work as a professional driver (taxi driver, heavy vehicle driver, bus driver, etc.). May I go to a service outlet to take the required tests?

To comply with public health measures that require keeping a social distance of at least 2 metres, we must temporarily suspend all road tests. Options are currently being considered in order to be able to offer this service again as soon as possible. Knowledge tests continue to be administered in our service outlets, on an appointment-only basis, and only to drivers working in priority sectors. 

My driving school is currently closed or is not offering any services at the moment. Can I go to the SAAQ in order to obtain my learner’s licence or to take my driving test?

Given that knowledge and road test services have not been deemed part of the SAAQ’s essential services, you may not take your driving test or obtain your learner’s licence. You may resume your training at your driving school once services have gone back to normal.

4 - Medical Assessments

I received a letter requesting that I undergo a mandatory medical assessment. Do I still have to consult with a physician?

For the moment, we recommend that you wait in order to avoid overwhelming the health care system. You will soon receive further instructions with regard to the assessment that must be carried out.

Will mandatory medical assessments be suspended in order to avoid overwhelming the health care system?

Yes. The SAAQ is temporarily suspending medical assessments. Affected clients will be contacted.

5 - Vehicle Registration

Given the current situation, how can I register my newly purchased vehicle?

If you purchased your vehicle from a dealership, you must use a temporary registration certificate, or “transit.” The dealer provides this document, which is valid for a period of ten days. Lenience will be shown, given the current situation. As soon as the risk with regard to COVID-19 is reduced, you may proceed with the registration of your vehicle.

The registration of my commercial vehicles expires on March 31. How can I respect the registration deadlines and continue to operate my vehicles?

In order to respect the International Registration Plan (IRP), we will prioritize clients who operate their vehicles outside the province. With regard to those who operate in Québec only, renewal will be carried out gradually. However, please note that lenience will be shown, given the current situation.

How can I put my vehicle into storage, take my vehicle out of storage, or discard my vehicle?

We invite you to use the SAAQ’s online services: 

Can I pay my vehicle registration online even if the deadline has passed?

With regard to renewals, we encourage you to pay online. We recommend that you make the payment through your financial institution even if the deadline has passed. Our partner organizations have been informed and will show lenience in this regard. 

Can I replace my lost or stolen registration certificate?

You can only replace your lost or stolen registration certificate if your work falls under a priority service or activity as defined by the government of Québec. In that case, you must make an appointment before going to a service outlet.

What is going to happen with my pre-authorized debits for the payment of my vehicle registration fees?

Pre-authorized debits will continue for anyone who chose to pay their vehicle registration fees using this method. If you do not want your bank account to be debited, please contact your financial institution to have the debits cancelled. 

Should a debit be refused, the SAAQ will not charge the $35 fee that would normally apply. However, the SAAQ is not responsible for any service fees your financial institution may charge you. We therefore suggest that you contact your financial institution for more information.

If you would like to pay your vehicle registration fees in a single instalment, please refer to the page concerning the payment of renewal fees.   

6 - Traffic Accidents and Compensation

As an accident victim, will I continue to receive my income replacement indemnity?

Yes. Our priority is to continue the payment of income replacement indemnities to accident victims.

Will the reimbursement of my expenses (medical treatments, travel, etc.) be delayed?

Given the current situation, our priority is the payment of income replacement indemnities. However, we will do everything possible to avoid delaying other payments, including the reimbursement of expenses.

If I cancel an appointment with a health care professional, will any cancellation fees related to the care or treatment I was supposed to received be reimbursed?

Cancellation fees will not be reimbursed. Only fees for the treatment or care received qualify for reimbursement.

Will the adaptation of my home or my vehicle be delayed?

At the moment, we are doing everything possible to keep delays to a minimum.

What happens if I am unable to go to an appointment for a medical assessment?

It is important that you inform us as soon as possible using secure email. Remember to include your claim number. We will take care of cancelling the appointment and rescheduling the assessment on a later date.  Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnities.

What happens if I am unable to go to my appointment with my attending physician?

Please contact your attending physician to cancel your appointment. Next, inform us of the situation as soon as possible using secure email. Remember to include your claim number. Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnities.

What happens if I am unable to go to my appointments for medical treatments?

Contact your health care specialist (physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist) to cancel your appointments. Next, inform us as soon as possible using secure email. Remember to include your claim number. Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnities.

What happens if a clinic cancels my medical treatments?

It is important that you inform us as soon as possible using secure email. Remember to include your claim number. Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnities.

Will online consultations and treatments with health care professionals be accepted and reimbursed?

When your situation and condition lend themselves well to this option, we will accept and reimburse online consultations and treatments with health care professionals (up to the maximum amount provided for in the case of in-clinic consultations) so long as they are carried out in accordance with the rules of the relevant professional corporation.

If I am involved in a traffic accident, when will I be able to receive an income replacement indemnity?

In that case, you must complete a claim for compensation using our online service Filing a Claim for Compensation (Accident or Death Benefits). If you are eligible to receive an income replacement indemnity, you will receive this indemnity as soon as possible. You may also receive preliminary payments if applicable.

I cannot return to work full-time or gradually return to work. Will payment of my income replacement indemnity continue?

Yes. Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnity.

I was involved in a minor traffic accident that does not prevent me from working. However, I have incurred some expenses. Do I have to file a claim for compensation right away or can I wait to do so?

You have 3 years from the date of your accident to file a claim for compensation. Given the current situation, we are prioritizing the processing of claims for compensation for individuals who cannot work (income replacement indemnity).

As part of my rehabilitation, I am receiving training offered by the education system. Since schools are closed, will payment of my indemnities continue?

Yes. Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnities. However, it is important that you inform us as soon as possible using secure email. Remember to include your claim number.

As part of my rehabilitation, I am currently doing a work placement term, but my employer has closed. Will payment of my indemnities continue?

Yes. Given the current situation, this will not affect the payment of your indemnities. However, it is important that you inform us as soon as possible using secure email. Remember to include your claim number.

As part of the processing of my compensation file, I have to meet with an SAAQ representative. Will this meeting still take place?

No. Given the current situation, such appointments will be carried out by phone. This will also be the case for the processing of applications for review.

Will my application for an administrative review be processed within the usual timeframe?

Although our administrative review activities are still underway, we are prioritizing the applications of individuals who cannot work (income replacement indemnity).

I have a hearing or a conciliation session with the Administrative Tribunal of Québec (TAQ). Do I still have to attend?

On this subject, we invite you to visit the website of the Administrative Tribunal of Québec (TAQ).

I have documents to submit in order for my application for review to be processed. How can I send them to the review officer responsible for my claim?

You can send your documents using our Reimbursement of Expenses and Document Submission online service, or fax them to 1-866-349-2759.

7 - Mechanical Maintenance and Road Vehicle Inspection

Will road vehicle inspection agents remain open?

Road vehicle inspection agents will be open only to carry out the following vehicle inspections:

    • mechanical inspections for the registration of second-hand vehicles from outside Québec required for work defined as an essential service by the Québec government
    • mechanical inspections of discarded vehicles or vehicles that have been stored for longer than 12 consecutive months if the vehicles are required for work defined as an essential service by the Québec government 
    • periodic mechanical inspections for a vehicle required for work defined as an essential service if its mechanical inspection certificate expired in or before February
    • vehicle compliance for vehicles that are required for work defined as an essential service by the Québec government 
    • mechanical or photometric inspections that are ordered by a peace officer

Which road vehicle inspection agent services are currently suspended?

In accordance with the government guidelines issued on March 23, 2020, the following services are suspended until April 13, 2020:

  • annual (or semi-annual) mechanical inspections, whether or not the vehicles are required in order to carry out essential services
  • technical appraisals
  • inspections of altered vehicles or hand-crafted vehicles
  • mechanical inspections for the registration of second-hand vehicles from outside Québec if the vehicles are not necessary for work designated as an essential service to be carried out
  • mechanical inspections of discarded vehicles or vehicles that have been stored for longer than 12 consecutive months if the vehicles are not required for work designated as an essential service to be carried out

Will mechanical inspection certificate issuance services for vehicles in remote areas remain available?

These services are only offered for vehicles that are required for work designated as an essential service by the Québec government to be carried out.

These services are only available for:

  • the registration of second-hand vehicles from outside Québec
  • discarded vehicles or vehicles stored for longer than 12 consecutive months

I own a vehicle that must undergo mandatory periodic mechanical inspections. What should I do if my vehicle is soon due to be inspected?

Given the current situation, owners who must have their road vehicle inspected by a specialized vehicle inspection agent will be given an additional month in which to carry out the inspection. However, vehicle owners must continue to keep their vehicles in good mechanical condition.

I am part of a recognized preventive maintenance program. Do I have to maintain my maintenance schedule?

All vehicle owners must keep their vehicles in good mechanical condition and comply with the maintenance standards, inspection frequency and inspection procedure prescribed by regulation. With regard to maintenance frequency, however, the SAAQ is granting an additional month as it is for periodic mechanical inspections.

I frequently travel outside the province. Are other jurisdictions taking into account the additional month granted for periodic mechanical inspections?

The SAAQ is in contact with other jurisdictions with regard to the lenience it is showing due to COVID-19 so that they may take it into consideration.

8 - Commercial Vehicles

Who can postpone the registration of their commercial vehicles until September 1, 2020?

The businesses targeted by this measure are owners of commercial vehicles (F licence plates) and taxis (T licence plates) whose fees to maintain their right to operate are due on March 31, 2020 or April 30, 2020.

How can I postpone the due date for the payment of my commercial registration renewal fees until September 1, 2020?

If you are a business targeted by this measure, visit the webpage “Formulaire de report de l’immatriculation commerciale” (in French only) to find out the steps to follow.

Will interest apply to the postponement of the payment of commercial vehicle and taxi registration renewal fees?

No. No interest will be charged during the postponement period.

Are businesses entitled to a reimbursement?

If you are one of the targeted businesses and you have already paid the amounts due, you could still take advantage of this measure. Visit the webpage “Formulaire de report de l’immatriculation commerciale” (in French only) to find out the steps to follow.

How much time will it take to process my application?

The applications will be processed carefully. Processing may therefore take several weeks.

If I receive renewal or late payment notices, do I have to take them into account?

If you are a business targeted by this measure and you have submitted your completed postponement application form, you can disregard the above-mentioned notices. These notices will not be taken into account at the end of the process.

However, keep the final payment notice, which will be sent to you before September 1, 2020 in order to regularize your file further to the postponement period.

Will my registration still remain valid until September 1, 2020?

Yes. Your registration will remain valid up until that date. Police officers and carrier enforcement officers have been advised, and administrative tolerance will be shown.

Why must I store my commercial vehicles that are not in use?

To benefit from maximum storage savings, we recommend that you put your unused vehicles into storage before the registration deadline. Use our online services for businesses (in French only) on our website to store your commercial vehicles and taxis.