The Law of Winter

One of my continuing Slaw quests is to prove the axiom that everything has a legal connection. While this bit of proof is not exactly a new item it is timely, in some parts of the country at least. In a move that strikes me as something that is somehow quintessentially Canadian, Quebec has mandated by law that all passenger vehicles must be equipped with winter tires. The Highway Safety Code, R.S.Q. c. C-24.2, s. 440.1 states:

Between 15 December and 15 March, the owner of a taxi or a passenger vehicle registered in Québec may not put the vehicle into operation unless it is equipped with tires specifically designed for winter driving, in compliance with the standards prescribed by government regulation. The prohibition also applies to any person renting out passenger vehicles not equipped with that type of tires.

While the Regulation Respecting the Use of Tires Specifically Designed for Winter Driving, R.Q. c. C-24.2, r.4.4.1 goes into such depth as to specify the words that should be found on the winter tires which include: “Alaska”, “Arctic”, “A/T” or “AT”, “Blizzard”, “Ice”, “LT”, “Nordic”, “Snow”, except “mud and snow”, “Stud”, “Ultra traction”, “Winter”, or the following image:
Snowtire. If you prefer to see how it would look on your tire (zoom in to the lower right corner). No cases presented themselves when noting up this section of the Highway Safety Code.

If one has any questions with regards to the implementation of the law in question there is a handy FAQ site to aid you in your traction pursuit and a quick quiz to test your knowledge. What was your score?

If you do not live in Quebec, Transport Canada has Winter Tire safety tips at your disposal, including a guide to reading the sidewall of your tires. Can we expect to see similar legislation enacted in other wintry driving jurisdictions? And, can common sense be legislated?


  1. I was shocked to learn last year that, in Ontario at least, rental cars are rarely outfitted with snow tires. I would love to see something like Quebec’s legislation put into place to make it a requirement.

  2. Finally! Someone has found reason to embed a link to the Canadian Tire website. Well done Mr. Lewis. :)

  3. Speaking of quintessentially Canadian……..

  4. When are we going to make winter illegal?