Chaining up in Canada

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer

OOIDA members and Land Line readers have grown accustomed to the annual updates on chain laws in the lower 48 states in the U.S. Land Line has also received a number of requests for a Canadian chain advisory.

So we put together a comprehensive roundup of chain- and studded tire-related laws in all 10 provinces and three territories. All attempts are made to ensure the information is spot on, but if the weather has taken a turn for the worse and you are in doubt at all, call ahead to provinces you will be running through.

Alberta

No regulations requiring or prohibiting the use of tire chains or studded tires.

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: "Use Winter Tires or Carry Chains Beyond this Point, Oct.1-March 31." 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 GVW must use chains, then the chains MUST be installed. Studded tires with studs up to 3.5 mm high are allowed from Oct. 1 to April 30. A limit of 175 studs per tire for vehicles that weight more than 4,600 kg, 130 studs for those that weigh less.

Manitoba

No regulations requiring or prohibiting the use of tire chains. Studded tires may be used from Oct. 1 to April 30.

Manitoba takes winter road safety seriously. Individuals (not corporations) who are Manitoba Public Insurance customers can take advantage of the new Winter Tire Financing Program, which started in fall of 2014. Low-interest financing up to $2,000 will be offered for vehicles less than 4,541 kg. Obviously, this does not apply to semis, but if you live in Manitoba, your personal four-wheeler is covered.

New Brunswick

No regulations requiring or prohibiting the use of tire chains. Studded tires may be used from Oct. 15 to May 1.

Newfoundland and Labrador

No one is allowed to drive on the highway when snow or ice is on the surface unless snow tires or tire chains are installed on the tires of the driving axle. Studded tires may be used from Nov. 1 to April 30.

Northwest Territories

No regulations requiring or prohibiting the use of tire chains or studded tires.

Nova Scotia

Studded tires may be used between Oct. 15 and May 31. Studs must not protrude more than one-eighth of an inch from the tread or surface; the diameter of each stud should not exceed one-half of an inch; no more than 175 studs on each tire for vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs; and number of studs on left tires must be equal to the number of studs on right tires.

Nunavut

Drivers can put on the iron in Nunavut as needed.

Ontario

Ontario is a bit trickier when it comes to studded tires. To start, they are only permitted 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 okay in Northern Ontario. A $1,000 fine can be handed out for using studded tires in Southern Ontario.

Prince Edward island

Tire chains are permissible. That's all the law says about them. Studded tires are allowed from Oct. 1 to May 31. Studs should not protrude more than 3.2 mm beyond tire surface. The regulation also notes that studs should not be installed on used or worn tires.

Quebec

Chains can 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 permitted.

Yukon

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