Réjean Bacon will not have had to do the hunger strike. The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) has agreed Monday to “resolve the situation” of road accident victims, who see their revenues decline drastically after age 65.
On his arrival at the headquarters of the SAAQ in Quebec city with her sign on Monday morning, Mr. Bacon was greeted by three employees of the department of the State corporation.
“We were well aware of the situation. We are already working, in conjunction with the office of the minister of Transport, to find a formula to resolve this situation”, explains Mario Vaillancourt, spokesman for the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).
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In Quebec, victims of a road accident is to receive an income replacement benefit, which represents 90 % of the wages earned when they were capable of work.
But this benefit is reduced by 25 % during the 65th anniversary of the person, and so each year, until it cannot be paid all at 68 years old.
“While these people are to be compensated by the SAAQ, they do not pay contributions to the Régime des rentes du Québec. Then they have amounts at least to the age of retirement. What you want to find, it is a formula that does not penalise these people,” says Mr. Vaillancourt.
The solution is not yet designed, but Mr. Vaillancourt states that he is not here to pay compensation after 68 years. The SAAQ has rather the intention of ensuring that road accident victims receive a pension roughly equivalent to that which they would have received if they had continued to work. “We will propose to the government an amendment to the law. The minister (François Bonnardel) has a firm commitment to fix it.”
Mr. Vaillancourt states that it is not only the hunger strike announced of Mr. Bacon, who has reacted to the SAAQ. “That’s still several months that it is on the record. We had found ourselves in this situation and yes, there are people that we have reported.”
As a change in the law is needed, it could take several months, or even years, before the situation adjusts itself. But Mr. Vaillancourt is reassuring. “If there are compensations that are given, it will be retroactive, for all those concerned.”
Mr. Bacon has agreed to return to his home and put an end to its means of pressure after having obtained such explanations. But he remains on his guard and expected to be informed of developments. “I told them that I kept my sign not far away, that’s for sure.”
The citizen, a protester who already has three hunger strikes to his credit, argues that the life expectancy of Quebecers has increased by 11 years since the creation of the régime québécois d’assurance automobile 40 years ago, and that the age rules should be changed.
The one who will celebrate his 68 years on 27 January hardly believe that the SAAQ will pay the money retroactively. “When they told me that, I fell down my chair. I’m not sure to see these sub-here in my lifetime.”
But it leaves the chance to the rider. Since he told his story to the Sun, he is said to have received numerous testimonies from road accident victims, who are in the same boat as him.