Adapt A Vehicule
Questions And Answers
Adapt your own vehicule
On its website, Savaria (Van-Action new enterprise) gives answers to frequently asked questions about adaptation of vehicles.
To visit their website, click here.
There is differents financial help programs that can help you to adapt your vehicle. You can find information about it in our section “Financial Help“
If you are planning on purchasing a new or used vehicle with the aim of adapting it for your particular physical limits, or if you are plannning on making an application for financial assistance from the SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) to adapt the vehicle, then the following might be helpful.
Make sure your driver’s license is in good standing
If your condition has changed since your last licence renewal in a way that could affect your driving (for example: You have a new shoulder pain that diminishes your stamina at the wheel), it is to your advantage to update your driver’s licence file before investing in modifying your vehicle. In fact, legally speaking, you have an obligation to ensure that your medical information on file are up to date and accurate. To update your file, you will need to have your doctor (GP or physiatrist) complete the SAAQ medical evaluation form (Form M-28). You may incur some charges to have the forms completed by the doctor.
Apply for funding
You must go to the SAAQ and request for a subsidy to adapt or modify your vehicle. Through their vehicle adaptation program for the disabled, the SAAQ may issue a monetary grant once every every five years for a value up to the maximum allowable for persons with disabilities who wish to adapt a private vehicle for driving or access.
To be eligble for a grant, you must complete the “Application for financial assistance for the adaptation of a vehicle,” available from customer service information at the SAAQ (1-800-525-7719) and from occupational therapists. The form must be accompanied by a medical certificate attesting to your diagnosis and disability.
As the waiting list may be long, it is in your best interest to submit your application early.
Assessing your ability to drive a motor vehicle.
Following receipt of your application, the SAAQ medical assessment team may require additional medical evidence, such as a vision test if your sight has deteriorated. In addition, you will need to be assessed by an occupational therapist for your fitness to drive a vehicle (Form M-57). Make sure that the occupational therapist specializes in driving assessments, this will avoid delays caused by the SAAQ refusing the therapist’s evaluation based on expertise grounds. There are no extra charges for the occupational therapist’s evaluation unless the evaluation is done in a private clinic, but there are fees for the road test.
After the road test examiner recommends you for authorization to drive a vehicle, then the occupational therapist will indicate the equipment and modifications to be made to your vehicle that best suits your needs; and the therapist will complete your evaluation (abilities and disabilities, mobility aids, environment, …). In most cases, the occupational therapist will be able to complete and submit form M-57 after conducting the SAAQ road test and the therapist should be able to indicate the changes or equipment needed for your driving at that time.
Choice of equipment and vehicle
The SAAQ will send a written confirmation of the maximum amount allowable based on the lowest bid from two different suppliers. You can then have the required work done by the supplier of your choice (not necessarily those who submitted bids) by supplying them with this confirmation of financial aid. As there are many different types of equipment on the market and not all suppliers have the same expertise. With the many vehicles available, it is suggested that you consult a number of suppliers and ask questions.
Only modifications that are essential to your particular needs are covered by the vehicle adaptation program for the disabled. Any additional modifications, such as lower floors, raised roofs and doors, platform lifts, access ramps, manual controls and specialised seats, that you chose would be at your expense.
Not all modifications can be made to any vehicle. The type of vehicle construction may affect the type of adjustments required. Therefore do not buy a vehicle, new or used, before verifying if the modifications you require can be made to a particular vehicle.
Modifications must be made to your vehicle within 12 months of receiving the authorisation to proceed from the SAAQ. Otherwise, you will have to submit another application.
Be patient…and plan ahead. According to certain members, an appointment with a specialised occupational therapist can sometimes take up to two years. You can opt for someone from the private sector, but it could
cost from $300-500. which will not be reimbursed by the SAAQ unless your disability is the result of a traffic accident. Also the processing of an application submitted to the SAAQ can take up to 6 months. Finally, the modifications themselves can take 3 to 8 weeks, depending on the nature of the modifications.