There is a great deal of confusion regarding enforcement of the mandatory use of tires designed for winter driving, introduced in the text of Bill 42, the Act to Amend the Highway Safety Code and the Regulation Respecting Demerit Points. To help you make sense of the changes, here is a summary of the draft Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving, published in the Gazette officielle du Québec of October 1, 2008, to which Section 440.1 of the Highway Safety Code refers.
 
From December 15 to March 15, ALL tires mounted on a TAXI or PASSENGER VEHICLE must be specifically designed for winter driving.

Offenders will be required to pay a fine ranging from $200 to $300. No demerit points will be deducted for such an offence, however.

Studded tires are not covered by the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving, and they are still permitted from October 15 to May 1.

General principle
Vehicles coveredUseNotes
Passenger vehicle  GeneralMandatory from December 15 to March 15.
Taxi General Mandatory from December 15 to March 15.
Exceptions
Véhicules visésPrécisionNotes
Passenger vehicle and taxi  Emergency tire.Section 2, Paragraph 1 of the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.
Motorcycle  Used as an emergency vehicle as defined in Article 4 of the Highway Safety Code.Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.
Passenger vehicle and taxi  Upon acquisition and for a period of seven days following the acquisition date.Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.
Passenger vehicle
On which is affixed a removable licence plate (“dealer plate” or “X plate”).Section 2, Paragraph 4 of the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.
Regulation Respecting Road Vehicle Registration.
Passenger vehicle On which is affixed a temporary registration certificate, for the period of validity indicated on the certificate but not exceeding seven days from the date of issue of the certificate.Section 2, Paragraph 5 of the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.
Regulation Respecting Road Vehicle Registration.
Motor home  Motor vehicle designed to serve as permanent self-contained living quarters.Section 2, Paragraph 6 of the Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving.
Passenger vehicle and taxi  The driver of which owns a certificate issued by the SAAQ.See “Specific Cases” below.

Specific cases – A person who owns or rents out a passenger vehicle is authorized to put that vehicle into operation without equipping it with tires specifically designed for winter driving, if he or she holds a certificate to that effect, in the following cases:

Vehicles covered UseNotes
Passenger vehicle and taxi Upon acquisition (purchase, lease) of a vehicle (new or used), to enable the new owner to equip the vehicle with tires specifically designed for winter driving. Certificate valid for 7 days.
New owner must request it from the SAAQ.

Passenger vehicle and taxi  Use of a vehicle for the purpose of leaving or entering Quebec (“snowbirds”).Certificate valid for 7 days.
Owner must request it from the SAAQ.
Passenger vehicle (vehicle rented and registered outside Quebec that, upon expiry of the rental period, is left somewhere in Quebec by the renter) On the return trip to the departure point situated outside Quebec. Certificate valid for 7 days.
Renter must request it from the SAAQ.
From December 15 to March 15, the SAAQ may not issue more than four certificates for a given vehicle.


Tires approved under the Regulation

The Regulation introduced by the government followed the Transport Minister’s consultations with several groups, including the Association des marchands de pneus du Québec, representatives of the Ministry of Transport itself, CAA-Quebec, certain tire merchants associations, etc. These specialists made recommendations, most of which were adopted by the government.

The snowflake icon is used as a reference for enforcement of the Act because it supposedly denotes that the adherence of the tire bearing that icon is 110% superior to that of a benchmark all-season tire. However, that standard, established by Transport Canada in 1999, should be modified in the near future to ensure the safety of Canadians on our roads, because it is obsolete. Upgrading the standard will surely eliminate several tires on which manufacturers have affixed the symbol without their adherence having been proved. By 2009, these standards will be re-evaluated by the Standards Council of Canada with a view to rendering use of the logo consistent.

Since the goal of the Regulation is to improve road safety, it goes without saying that tires that do not meet these criteria should not be used for winter driving. When the temperature drops below 7°C, all-season tires start to lose their elasticity, which results in poorer traction, handling and braking capacity. Winter tires, on the other hand, retain their elasticity at temperatures far below 7°C. Lastly, it must not be forgotten that modern vehicles are equipped with safety features (ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, and so forth), which work properly only if the vehicle is equipped with tires providing the proper adherence.

Section 7 of the Regulation defines which tires will be acceptable as tires specifically designed for winter driving:

BEFORE DECEMBER 15, 2014

Tires on which one of the following inscriptions appears:

Alaska | Arctic | A/T or AT | Blizzard | Ice | LT | Nordic

Snow (but not Mud & Snow) | Stud | Ultratraction | Winter

OR

Tires on which the mountain and snowflake icon appears. 

AS OF DECEMBER 15, 2014

Tires on which the mountain and snowflake icon appears. 


Transport Québec : Regulation Governing the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving


Questions on this or any other automotive question?

If you are a CAA-Quebec member, you can call our Automotive Advisory Services free of charge and as often as you wish. Our specialists are there to help you make informed, objective choices, whatever the subject of your question.

To reach them, call 1 888 471-2424 or e-mail automobile@caaquebec.com now.