Are winter tires required by law in your province?

November 28, 2014

To stay safe on icy roads, experts recommend installing winter tires before the snow arrives. In certain provinces, however, winter tires aren't just a good idea they're also the law. Find out if your province legally requires you to install winter tires on your vehicle.

Are winter tires required by law in your province?

Be prepared when temperatures dip

All Canadian provinces recommend that you install winter tires when the temperature dips below 7 °C. The reason for this is quite simple:

  • Summer tires don’t grip the pavement as well in colder temperatures because the rubber compound used is meant for hot weather, so isn't as "grippy" when the thermometer drops.

To an extent, new all-seasons are okay for winter driving.

  • All-season tires aren't suitable for harsh winter conditions, such as ice and packed snow.
  • As all-seasons wear down, their effectiveness also diminishes.

Winter tires should be removed when the temperature goes above 7 °C because heat can cause the rubber to wear out prematurely and decrease their number of useful years.

  • Winter tires are also not rated to withstand the scorching heat of summer pavement, so the chances of tire failure increase in summer.

Although some Canadian provinces only require all-seasons for winter driving, others have restrictions when studded tires can be installed and used.


Quebec instituted Law 42 in 2007, which requires all motorists to install four winter tires on their vehicle from December 15 to March 15, inclusive.

  • As of December 15, 2014, all winter tires must also be marked with the symbol of a snowflake and mountain on the sidewall.
  • These markings guarantee that the tires have been tested and certified to meet winter performance requirements.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, tires with chains or winter tires are required by law only in certain mountainous areas. Local authorities can tell you what the regulations are in your area.

  • Studded tires, up to 3.5 mm, are permitted between October 1 and April 30.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut

In these provinces and territories, studded tires are not subject to any specific dates or restrictions.

  • Given that Canada's three territories and the northern limits of the provinces are quite snowy, common sense would dictate buying and installing winter tires.

Ontario and Manitoba

In these two provinces, studded tires are permitted from October 1 to April 30.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

Concerning studded tires, these two provinces differ very slightly.

  • Nova Scotia permits studded tires from mid-October to the end of April.
  • In New Brunswick, they are permitted until May 1.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island allows studded tires from October 1 to May 31.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The law in Newfoundland and Labrador stipulates that studded tires are not permitted before November 1, but allows them to stay on until the end of May.

Certified to be winter-ready

When choosing winter tires, take into consideration the road conditions in your area, as well as the milage and frequency of use.

  • If you live in a remote area, you can add studs to your tires for better traction on ice and snow.
  • Some tires are manufactured with studs built into the treads. Their only drawback is studded tires lack traction in slush and on bare asphalt.

Some winter tires are excellent on ice and others are better in the snow, while some function well in both conditions. Check with your local tire retailer to ensure your tires are best suited to help you drive safely (and legally) through winter.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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