Unionized workers deplore closing of de la Concorde Blvd. SAAQ outlet

Unifor Quebec, the labour union representing workers at the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), issued a statement on April 30 denouncing the closing of the SAAQ outlet at 3100 de la Concorde Blvd. East in Laval’s Duvernay district, putting 10 SAAQ employees out of work.

According to the union, the Laval Chamber of Commerce, which was the sponsoring organization for the outlet, announced the closing on April 9.

“It was done during a teleconference and everybody was in shock and shaken up by the news,” said Nicolas Lalonde, secretary and finance officer for Unifor local 698. “This is really not easy, because in addition to the anguish that the pandemic is causing, this loss of jobs is catastrophic.”

The union maintains that the driver’s licensing outlet did a lot of business, and they don’t understand why it had to close. “It’s too bad for the people who were used to coming to this office,” added Lalonde.

In the meantime, the SAAQ has two other outlets in Laval: 798 Curé Labelle Blvd. in Chomedey, and 1545 Le Corbusier Blvd. at Les Galeries Laval.

Caroline De Guire, CEO and president of the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Laval, said the CCIL faced a difficult decision in closing the SAAQ outlet it sponsored for more than two decades. She said the SAAQ’s services and methods for dealing with clients changed a great deal in recent years, and that online transactions are increasingly becoming the norm.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic had nothing to do with the decision, which she insisted had been taken some time before. “It was a hard decision to make,” De Guire said. “But we had noticed already changes in how the population was going online for services. They will be increasingly doing so, because the SAAQ will be increasing its online presence to make more services available to people more easily.”

She said the the CCIL has been working with management at the two remaining SAAQ outlets in Laval to find new jobs for the terminated employees from the closed outlet.

Martin C. Barry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Laval News, marty@newsfirst.ca