Even as Quebec prepares to bring forward the mandatory winter tire changeover date to December 1 from December 15, there appears no appetite to follow suit in other provinces.
The change is part of a number of safety related changes to Quebec’s Highway Safety Code, tabled in early December but expected to signed into law in 2018.
Quebec remains the only Canadian jurisdiction that requires drivers to have winter tires by law — currently between Dec. 15 and March 15. The nine-year-old legislation comes with the threat of a fine from $200 to $300.
The suggestions for moving up the deadline in Quebec came during public meetings, with certain parts of the province experiencing harsh winter conditions earlier than the heavily populated southwestern part of the province.
Although Quebec remains the only province to make winter tire use mandatory, winter tires use is required in certain areas, and elsewhere, provincial incentives do exist for their use.
In B.C., drivers are required to have winter tires installed on their vehicles if travelling on designated highways around the province, mainly in the Interior and near high mountain passes where road conditions can be treacherous.
Ontario has required insurance companies to offer incentives for winter tire use starting in 2016 and Manitoba offers loans of up to $2,000 a car at prime plus 2 per cent as an incentive.
The conversation around winter tires has shifted over the past few years, from snow-and-ice based reasoning (we don’t talk about snow tires anymore) to temperature, where data supports the changeover to winter tire rubber compounds has a dramatic effect on safety below 7 degrees C.
A 2012 report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation found there had been a 36 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in winter collisions in Quebec since the law was passed.
According to a Rubber Association of Canada survey, half of Canadians outside of Quebec use winter tires, but also declared that it was the fastest growing tire category.