Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Are you kidding me?

When I moved to Vancouver in 2002, I obviously needed to get a driver's license from British-Columbia, as well as a Health Insurance Card (which is called a Care Card in BC). The process could not have been more simple. One week day, in the morning, I walked into an ICBC office (no appointment), took a number, waited about five minutes, filled in a bunch of papers, handed them my Quebec driver's license, had my picture taken and walked out with a brand new BC license! As a proof of residency, I think I brought my rental agreement and my passport. The entire process must have taken me about half an hour. Getting a Care Card was even easier, it was all done through my employer (BC charges a monthly fee for health care, a fee that is usually paid by employers as an employee benefit).

Now that I am back in Quebec, I need to, once again, swap my cards for local ones. I started with the driver's license.

As someone who moved from another province, I am spared having to take a driving exam. However, there is no fast-tracking here. First, I had to call the SAAQ, between the hours of 9 and 5, something I hadn't been able to do yet because I was busy working. Silly me to try contacting a government office on a Saturday. Calling the SAAQ as mandatory, you don't just drop in a local SAAQ office, no sir. You need to call to set up an appointment to get a license. All right then. At this appointment, you need to bring my passport, my BC license (so far so good), get a copy of my driving record in BC for the past six years (what?), a hydro or phone bill with my current address (no rental agreement, 'cause that piece of paper is NOT an official enough document), and my Care Card (they would have preferred getting my Quebec Health Insurance Card, but I don't have it yet). By the way, the earliest appointment you can get is on December 30 (December? I made the lady repeat the date three times) and the closest SAAQ office you can have your appointment at is on Henri Bourassa West, in Ville Saint-Laurent.

Welcome to Quebec. Now I dread calling the Régie to learn what kind of hoops I have to jump through to get my Health Insurance Card. I'm already not too happy with having to prepare two income tax returns in April.

No comments: