The winter-tire exemption: practical in many cases!

As a Quebec resident, you are no doubt aware that provincial law requires you to equip your vehicle with winter tires by December 15 of each year, and leave them on until March 15 the following spring. But did you know that in certain situations, it’s possible to obtain a certificate exempting you from that requirement?

The exemption certificate: the basics

The winter-tire exemption certificate is valid for seven days, and is issued free of charge by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) and its representatives, including CAA-Quebec's 11 vehicle registration centres.

A total of four certificates may be obtained for the same vehicle during the period December 15 to March 15—as long as the vehicle remains the property of the same person.

An exemption for specific requirements

A certificate authorizing the operation of a passenger vehicle without winter tires can be issued in the following cases, among others:
•    You own or have a long-term lease for a vehicle registered in Quebec, and will be using it to travel outside Quebec or return to the province (e.g., if you’re a “snowbird” who’ll be travelling South during the winter season).

Good to know

Motorists who know their departure and return dates can obtain two exemption certificates at the same time, before leaving. Also, if the departure date changes, another certificate can be issued.

  • You’ve acquired a vehicle in a private sale, and must equip it with winter tires within seven days.
  • You are putting a stored vehicle back on the road.
  • You’re returning to Quebec with a vehicle that has been leased and licensed outside the province, but you are dropping it off in Quebec after the lease period.

Lastly, provincial regulations outline a number of other cases in which the winter-tire exemption certificate can be issued, covering other specific situations. For more information, visit this page on the SAAQ website, or call 1 800 361-7620.