Report blames 'system' rather than individuals for weak response to Quebec storm

Published on May 19, 2017

MONTREAL — A government-appointed investigator is blaming the system rather than individuals for the debacle on a city highway last March that left 300 motorists stranded after a major snowstorm.

Florent Gagne released his report today and it concludes authorities underestimated the severity of the problems and communicated poorly with each other.

Hundreds of drivers were left stranded on Montreal's Highway 13 on March 14 after a huge snowstorm blanketed the city with about 40 centimetres of snow.

Some drivers spent the night in their vehicles while others abandoned their cars and left on foot after waiting hours in vain for help.

Gagne, a former head of the Quebec provincial police and an ex-deputy transport minister, says there weren't enough people working in the Transport Department the night of the storm.

He adds Transport Minister Laurent Lessard can't be blamed for inaction because critical details about the events weren't brought to his attention.

Gagne says the poor response to the crisis was primarily due to gaps in the system as opposed to mistakes by any specific individuals.

The Canadian Press