Madam Deputy Prime Minister of Quebec, Genevieve Guilbault,
I am writing to you to inform you of my concerns and my situation. A situation that haunted me for more than ten years and affects thousands of Quebecers across the province.
It’s no secret that the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec is fundamentally complex, complicated, rigid and often brutal. If the principles created by Minister Lise Payette are admirable and honest, the administration’s mission is quickly undermined by moving away from its founding elements. The stakes have changed, evolving with a community that wants to see positive progress.
Like the laws used to protect citizens, the practices of SAAQ and its managers must be updated and respond to Quebecers’ new realities.
I am a SAAQ beneficiary following a car-pedestrian accident in May 2012. I am 24 years old. I worked as a library clerk, but I was also responsible for audiovisual and technical support at Marie-Clark Private High School in Montreal. I had the ambition and desire to start university studies in primary school teaching. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go this route. My life changed forever on the morning of May 9, 2012 when a motorist hit me while crossing at my light. The heavy and difficult structure of SAAQ held me back and would have ended me without my mother’s support.
This state-owned agency, whose mission is to protect citizens, is actually a bureaucratic pit of malpractice that harms already damaged lives. Today, at age 36, the scars left by the procedure still affect me. The same goes when we have to deal with the SAAQ and the laws that govern it if we don’t come out of an accident unscathed.
Inflation is a lesson that affects all of us and crushes even more those who are already least well off. Those who are forgotten by society, those who lack the strength to raise their voice, those who suffer in silence from the injustice of a life they did not choose.
I am now a SAAQ beneficiary after many years of hard struggle to assert my rights. I am permanently disabled due to a failure to improve condition. On this May 9, 2012, with a meager performance, I reap the pieces of my broken dreams – anxious that SAAQ’s ax will fall under some poor pretext. When Bill 22 was tabled and the reference to raising compensation was made, I felt hopeful. The same thing happened when Radio-Canada reported on February 9, 2022: “The bill provides a minimum income for those unable to advance in their lives because of a road accident. However, when I looked at the question, it quickly became clear to me that it wasn’t as good as it seemed. Finding: Despite my disability, I am not eligible for this adjustment.
So I wonder what will happen to me. My meager salary is insufficient, and I cannot count on any future to relieve my misery. Are the providers of the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec the offspring of a society that claims to be progressive?
Every four years, elections begin based on the previous theme. Family, health, education… If these subjects are focal points of society, others are often left behind, and these same debates ignore thousands of Quebecers.
Today no political talk bothers me. Tax cuts don’t affect me, and even the promise of $500 makes me bitter, knowing that it will go directly to the government — paying back the drug insurance I have to sign up for. How to overcome these economic crises? How can I hope for a better future when I am already suffering from a difficult physical and financial situation?
Rekindle the partisan flame I held for a party that inspired me with credibility and change. CAQ’s willingness to do things differently gave me great confidence, as did your honesty and your obvious desire to be close to people.
By writing to you, I am giving you my last hope that an inclusive amendment to Bill 22 can do more and change the lives of people like me. Like the rest of the active community, I believe there is a place for me and I hope my voice is heard enough to hear this crying need that affects me and so many others.
Emily Belisle, SAAQ Provider, Montreal
*This letter was written with the help and support of my mother, Sylvie Benart.
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