Winter Tire Exemption: Where and How?

Published on November 17, 2022 in Features and Tips by The Car Guide

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.  

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