Canada tire chain laws

October 2020

Tyson Fisher

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Not all Land Line readers and OOIDA members live in the United States. Many truckers reside in Canada or haul north of the border. That makes knowing chain laws in Canada just as important as chain regulations in the states.

Below is a comprehensive roundup of chain- and studded tire-related laws in all 10 provinces and three territories. As with U.S. chain laws, Land Line updates this list each year. Although Land Line makes its best effort to ensure accurate information, always be on the safe side and have chains in your truck in preparation for worst case scenario. This is especially true the further north you travel. Click here to see the U.S. list.


Alberta

No regulations require or prohibit the use of tire chains or studded tires. However, if you choose to use them and damage the roadway, Alberta makes a point to let you know you could be cited for the damage.


British Columbia

Chains and studded tires are fine when needed. In fact, you can be fined for not having proper tires. The Ministry of Transportation will have signs posted: “Must Carry Tire Chains, Oct.1-April 30.” In fact, the government website states “Commercial drivers who travel outside the Greater Vancouver and Greater Victoria areas in the winter are required to carry chains or other acceptable traction devices.”

Any vehicle found crossing that point without proper tires is subject to a fine. Truckers only need to carry, not install, chains at this point.

However, when encountering a sign or flashing amber lights with a message that indicates vehicles over a certain posted gross vehicle weight must use chains, then the chains must be installed. Chains on a typical tractor-trailer combination must be on all four tires of the main drive axle. There is no chain requirement on the trailer.


Manitoba

No regulations require or prohibit the use of tire chains. However, much like the boilerplate language in many states in the U.S., you can use chains when needed “for safety.”


New Brunswick

It is permissible to use tire chains and studded tires in cases of  “exceptional weather conditions.” Studded snow tires are permissible at any time except from May 1 to Oct. 15.


Newfoundland and Labrador

According to provincial regulations, “a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on a highway when there is snow or ice on the surface of the highway unless” snow tires or tire chains are fitted on the drive axle.


Northwest Territories

Essentially, tire chains are allowed during icy or snow road conditions.


Nova Scotia

“It shall be permissible to use tire chains of reasonable proportions upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.”


Nunavut

Drivers can use tire chains in Nunavut as needed.


Ontario

Ontario is a bit trickier when it comes to studded tires. To start, they are only allowed from Sept. 1 through May 31. In order to use studded tires, the driver must be a resident of Northern Ontario (north of Parry Sound and Nipissing districts), own a business in Northern Ontario, or have road authority having jurisdiction and control of a highway in Northern Ontario. Non-Ontario residents may use studded tires if the vehicle is in Ontario for no more than 30 days.

From there, Ontario has a list of regulations regarding size and placement of the studs. Essentially, studded tires are OK in Northern Ontario. A $1,000 fine can be given for using studded tires in Southern Ontario.


Prince Edward Island

Tire chains are permissible as long as they do not “injure” the highway.


Quebec

Chains may only be used by emergency vehicles, farm tractors or any road vehicle used for snow removal or winter maintenance from Oct. 15 to May 1. Studded tires are acceptable only on passenger vehicles from Oct. 15 to May 1. There are no regulations that specifically mention heavy trucks and winter tires. Per a conversation with a representative from the Ministry of Transportation, chains and studs are prohibited on heavy trucks.


Saskatchewan

No regulations for winter tires. Studded tires and chains are allowed.


Yukon

No regulations for winter tires. Studded tires and chains are permitted. LL

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.