Winter Tire Exemption: Where and How?

If you still haven't purchased your winter tires, you really should hurry, because the deadline is approaching fast.  

Just in case you forgot, winter tires are mandatory on all road motor vehicles registered in Quebec, including rentals, from December 1st to March 15th inclusively. Motorists who don’t comply with the law risk a fine between $200 and $300.

Remember that to qualify for winter driving, a tire must feature the mountain and snowflake pictogram or be equipped with studs (permitted between October 15th and May 1st).

Photo: Alain Morin


That being said, a few exemptions exist. Among them are heavy trucks, tool vehicles, farming vehicles, and motorcycles that are used as emergency vehicles. Vehicles with a dealer plate (X licence) or a temporary registration certificate (transit), which is typically valid for a maximum of seven days, are also exempt.

Trailers and spare wheels don’t have to be equipped with winter tires either. The same goes for newly purchased vehicles, or ones with an ending lease: a seven-day grace period is allowed, but you must have the papers to prove it.

Photo: Sylvain Raymond

Then, there are vehicles for which a winter tire exemption certificate has been issued by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) and its agents, including CAA-Quebec’s eleven registration centres. This certificate is also valid for a maximum period of seven days, and no more than four can be granted for the same vehicle and owner between December 1st and March 15th.

What are the reasons for getting a winter tire exemption certificate? You could be going outside of Quebec or coming back … if you are a snowbird for example. You could also want to put a vehicle back on the road (licence for road use) or terminate a lease contract.

Finally, note that this service is free, and that you can print the certificate at home or at work, if you can’t go to a SAAQ service outlet to get one.  

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

RecallsThousands of Michelin Tires Recalled for Lack of Winter Readiness
Forgive us for talking about winter tires when spring is in full swing, but a new recall by Michelin leaves us no choice. As you know, all tires marked with a three-peak mountain snowflake symbol (3PMS) must meet safety and winter traction requirements as established by Transport Canada. Ironically, these …
TiresBest Winter Tires for 2023-2024: Top Picks and Recommendations
Depending on where you live in Canada, winter tires may or may not be mandatory for a certain part of the year. Regardless, they have proven to outperform all-season and all-weather tires when temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celsius. And if you need a new set, it’s best to shop …
TiresWhere and When Are Winter Tires Mandatory in Canada?
Canadian drivers know the value of winter tires, even those who are not legally required to put them on their vehicle during the cold season. A 2020 survey commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada revealed that 72 percent of vehicle owners across the country now opt for …
TiresIs Climate Change Making Winter Tires More Vital? Survey Says Yes
Extreme winter weather events related to climate change have made winter tires more important than ever according to 76 percent of Canadian motorists polled by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). “It seems Canadian drivers are recognizing the changing weather patterns brought about by climate change,” says TRAC …