Do you find yourself talking about the weather a lot, especially in the winter?

Whether we’re going to have ice, snow, or just bitter cold is often part of the conversation between locals during Canada’s cold months. That’s likely because we’re the fourth-coldest country in the world (read to the bottom to find the coldest places!) and our lives can be severely affected by the weather if we don’t take the proper precautions to keep ourselves, our homes, and our vehicles safe and working properly when the mercury drops and the white stuff arrives.

Part of preparing for winter is having snow tires on hand that we can use throughout the often difficult driving months of November through March. Snow tires – more recently referred to as “winter tires” – help us get around because they possess treads designed to grip both ice and snow. These updated, improved winter tires have an advantage over older models because they are now made of rubber materials that stay supple rather than get hard when it’s very cold. That means they work better on ice than they used it.

So, when should you put them on?

The general recommendation is that snow tires be installed when the temperature regularly dips below 7 degrees Celsius. That’s earlier for some provinces than for others. In addition, some provinces have specific dates as to when they should be in use while others do not. Also, rules can vary according to where you’re driving within each province.

In British Columbia, regulations do indeed vary according to where in the province you are located or where you’re driving. In the Lower Mainland and Southeastern Vancouver Island, for example, drivers are not required to install winter tires in most areas. However, if you plan to take your car outside those areas, you’ll definitely need to put them on.

In addition, some cities and municipalities have their own rules. Same goes for private roads that govern themselves.

Nevertheless, winter tires or chains are required on most routes in British Columbia starting on October 1 and ending on April 30. For certain highways that are not located through mountain passes or in areas where snowfall is high, tire and chain requirements end a bit earlier on March 31.

Not sure which routes are included and which are not? Look for signs or check the maps on the British Columbia government website at

What about the rest of Canada?

Snow tire rules vary throughout the country. It’s interesting to note that some of the snowiest regions in Canada don’t have specific winter tire laws. That includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut. In New Brunswick, only school buses must have winter tires. Others “strongly recommend” the use of snow tires but don’t have particular legislation that demands it.

Quebec has the strictest rules and harshest fines, but if you’re not a Quebec resident and are driving in that province, the snow tire rules do not apply to you.

If you’re venturing into the U.S., you’ll find that there is no overlapping rule that requires the use of snow tires in the states, though many drivers who live in mountainous areas or who frequent those areas take it upon themselves to change to winter tires or carry chains.

Need to know more about driving in the snow, snow removal, and keeping your property and its roadways clean and clear. Contact Fraser Valley Snow Removal for more information and pricing.

Oh, by the way, the only countries colder than Canada are Antarctica, Russia, and Greenland!