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All The Exceptions To Quebec's Winter Tire Rule

There are specific cases where you won't get fined.

Senior Editor
A car with a wheel covered in snow and ice in Quebec.

A car with a wheel covered in snow and ice in Quebec.

Starting December 1, the vast majority of drivers with vehicles registered in Quebec will need to have winter tires on their vehicles. Anyone subject to the requirement who doesn't have the appropriate tires risks $200 to $300 in fines, according to sections 440.1 and 510 of the Highway Safety Code.

There are a handful of specific exceptions, however.

What are Quebec's winter tire exemptions?

Quebec's extended winter tire regulations outline exemptions for spare tires, motorcycles used as emergency vehicles (by police, ambulance and fire safety services), vehicles with approved detachable license plates (for example, plates used by car dealerships), vehicles with temporary registration, and motor homes.

The SAAQ makes it clear that so-called "heavy vehicles" (for example, buses and other vehicles weighing at least 4,500 kilograms) and "utility vehicles" are exempt, too, as is farm machinery.

There's also a seven-day grace period for drivers with newly-purchased vehicles from dealers. Rental vehicle drivers whose leases (of one year or longer) are expiring within seven days don't need winter tires either.

Who can get an SAAQ winter tires exemption certificate?

In addition, the SAAQ can issue seven-day exemption certificates in some circumstances, including for drivers in new vehicles not obtained from a dealer; for drivers using their vehicles to leave or return to Quebec; for drivers who rented a vehicle outside Quebec but are leaving it at a location within Quebec; for vehicles moving between auction sites and dealerships; and for drivers who are cancelling their vehicle leases (of one year or longer); as well as for some specific legal reasons, such as for an impoundment.

Conditions apply in many cases. Eligible drivers can apply for exemption certificates online.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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