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The person who wants to “modernize” CAA-Quebec

The person who wants to “modernize” CAA-Quebec

Unaccustomed to the media, the new president and CEO began to understand her role as spokesperson. the sun I met her in her first interview as president of CAA-Quebec.

Marie-Soleil Tremblay is the first woman to head the organization since its founding in 1904. “The time has come!” She would say while laughing. At 45 years old, she is also the youngest member of its senior management.

She succeeds Richard Lachance, who served as president for ten years before his retirement.

Has the organization begun to change its image? “It's an evolution,” answers the main interested party.

“CAA-Quebec has a very strong brand that is well-known throughout Quebec, but the needs of our clients change as society changes. My challenge is to modernize the organization while respecting its DNA.”

Marie Soleil Tremblay

The numbers speak for themselves: CAA-Quebec has more than 1,360,000 members, or one in four Quebec households, and this, with exemplary loyalty.

More women

The organization is evolving with the times, making more space for women. The composition of its members, on which its activities are based, tends to be equal: 48% women and 52% men.

“We have parity in our management committee and our board,” she adds proudly.

If it insists, it's because CAA-Quebec has doubled down on campaigns to diversify its clientele in recent years. It includes among its members more and more women, but also travelers who do not own a car as well as drivers who rent a car from time to time. “These are all people who want good advice and support,” she concludes.

A sign that times are changing, CAA-Quebec is seeing an increase in demand for towing…electrically assisted bicycles.

She explains: “The assistance service is for all types of bicycles, for example if you have a puncture, but we see a lot of electric bicycles.”

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Catch up with technology

To reach these new customers, CAA-Quebec still has to catch up. The organization realizes that it is a little behind in implementing its technological tools.

Since taking office, Marie-Soleil Tremblay is hoping to accelerate digital transformation: chatbots and a live chat tool should be available soon.

“It's part of my mission,” explains the person who previously worked in retail and marketing for RONA, NAPA Auto Parts, LOWE'S Canada and Groupe Dynamite.

“Customer service is the heart of our organization. That's why, since my arrival, I've wanted to ensure every product is important and how best to meet our members' needs and even move forward when possible.

Follow airlines

Another issue she wants to promote is enhancing the protection of air passengers. For several years, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has been calling on the federal government to be more transparent about statistics related to, in particular, the accuracy of flight times and lost baggage so that residents can judge for themselves the performance of airlines.

Despite the efforts, 40 per cent of Canadians say regulations to protect air passengers are ineffective, according to a Civil Aviation Authority survey last year, double what it was in 2021.

“Our insurance products are growing. Travelers want better protection,” notes the President and CEO.

She points out that CAA operates one of the largest leisure travel agencies in Canada.

“Our job is neither to demand nor to exert pressure, but rather to simplify the rules for passengers and make them easier to implement,” she says.

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For its part, CAA-Quebec will continue to support its members in their dealings with airlines. “Because helping people get around is what we've been doing since the beginning.”

In an interview with Le Soleil, Marie-Soleil Tremblay discussed several topics, including airline contracts, road safety and ending subsidies for electric cars.

Five questions in the explosion…

What is your reaction to the announcement of the end of the Roulette vert program that supports electric cars?

We are disappointed. Like many, we expected the support to eventually end, but not so quickly, and not in this way. At CAA, we remain convinced of the potential and necessity of electric vehicles. We can't wait to see where the money goes next.

Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon announced this week that there are too many cars in Quebec. do you agree?

I don't think it's a matter of quantity, but rather the use we make of it. At CAA, we champion diverse mobility. Plus, I take the train every week to work in Quebec and I like it.

Were you a member of CAA-Quebec before you became president?

Before starting the selection process for this position, I took out my membership card. I wanted to live the experience as a client to fully understand it. But my father was a member for several years. I was already familiar with CAA.

Head office in Quebec…to stay there?

We have offices in Montreal, but the main office remains in Quebec. We do not feel the need to change it at this time.

CAA-Quebec publishes its list of the worst roads in Quebec every year. You who ride a lot, what's yours?

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It's a good question! I didn't do the exercise, but it gave me the idea. Every year, motorists, as well as municipalities, are expected to prepare a list of results. You might think they don't want to be there, but in reality, it gives them an additional argument to get the necessary funding and accelerate the work.

The list of Quebec's worst roads will return on April 2.