Winter tires in demand with possibility of short supply due to new Quebec law

Katherine Hunt
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Adam Stewart of Coast Tire in Charlottetown is surrounded by their outlets stock of winter tires. Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

By Katherine Hunt
The Guardian
Retailers are encouraging drivers to buy winter tires early this season in case there's a shortage due to Quebec's new law making winter tires mandatory.
Many auto shops and tire retailers across the Maritimes order their tires from Quebec factories and though orders as much as 3,000 tires have been coming in so far, it's not expected to last.
Winter tires have already gone up in demand, says Ron Sobey of OK Tire in Charlottetown.
"They're very demanding," said Sobey. "Every new vehicle creates a new size and a new demand."
Quebec's new law, passed last December, requires all vehicles to have winter tires by Nov. 15 and keep them on until April 15.
It's expected to help lower the rate of accidents in Quebec because 38 per cent of winter accidents there last season involved vehicles without winter tires.
If there's a shortage of them in P.E.I. the alternative is all-season tires though they're not recommended, says Sobey.
"Once it goes below seven degrees Celsius, then all-seasons rubber becomes as hard as a hockey puck and you lose what you would have in the summer running up and down the roads."
Winter tires use a softer rubber, providing better grip on ice and snow whereas all-season tires are tough and are best used in summer conditions, not giving them a good performance in winter conditions, according to Wikipedia.
The lowest temperature in P.E.I. last December was -8.8 degrees Celsius and -14.9 degrees Celsius in January, according to, a website of past weather forecasts around the world.
When the temperature drops, winter tires work even better, says Gary Villard of Coast Tire in Charlottetown.
"They perform better below seven degrees Celsius."
Though winter tires must be changed in the summer they can still be kept and placed back on for the next winter season.
"Depending on the treads they can last three, four or five years," said Villard.
Canadian Tire stores don't believe they'll be hit very hard by the shortage since it carries some in-store brands as well as brands sold other places.
A spokesperson for Canadian Tire said they ordered extra stock because they were told months ago about the decision in Quebec possibly creating shortages.
Coast Tire ordered 1,000 winter tires and OK Tire ordered 2,500.
OK Tire will continue their supply by ordering more as their stock gets sold and suggests motorists buy them while they still can.
"Buy them early and hope for the best," said Sobey.

Organizations: OK Tire, Canadian Tire

Geographic location: Quebec, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Tired
    June 21, 2010 - 20:36

    I've been driving to work in Summerside from Charlottetown every day for the past 14 years on all season radials without a problem. Now mind you there were days that even snowmobiles should not have been out. My point is that I feel unpleasent vibes that winter tire applications will become mandatory here in PEI. LEGISLATORS...keep your noses out of this. We are regulated to death as it is. Quite a difference in driving here on PEI versus the 401 in Toronto.

    Now for possible costs lets see...we have one 1999 car and an old beater truck...winter tires for the 4X4 truck would be 4 @150.99 plus PST and GST and PEI Tire tax plus installation. The Car would be 2@ $123.49 plus PST and GST and the PEI Tire tax plus installation. Maybe I should buy new winter rims to mount the tires on so I don't have to have them switched on the thats another 2@ 89.95 plus HAVE THE TIRES BALANCED...Hummm maybe the tires need to be rotated??? How much extra for that?


  • delmar
    June 21, 2010 - 20:33

    If thirty eight percent of the cars involved in accidents,did not have snow tires on then sixty two percent 0f the cars did have snow tires on......go figure

  • Tired
    June 21, 2010 - 20:31

    Well Islander!!!!...If you feel you might need winter tires V:S all get them fella...just don't have them legislated based on one's personal requirements!!!

  • Islander
    June 21, 2010 - 20:23

    We have real winters and we need real winter tires.

    If people are too stupid to get that, we need legislation.

    You need only look at the single comment which talks about being out in weather for snowmobiles and all-seasons are just fine. I guess all the experts are wrong and the 10.15$ an hour guy has it figured out.

    The truly sad part is that the ones with the bad tires are probably sliding into those who have the snows.

  • C.
    June 21, 2010 - 20:01

    The Deadline for Snow Tires in Quebec is December 15, Check the Transport Quebec Webpage below. Sheesh, get it right before you print. This is the second time I have corrected the News reports.

  • Scott
    June 21, 2010 - 19:56

    Too much legislation. There are too many things being controlled by the Government.

    People need to drive according to the conditions. Tailgating is bad especially in the winter. Pay more attention; to other drivers, to the road conditions. There are plenty of us who have never been involved in an accident.

    Instead of punishing everyone, how about the ones getting into the accidents. After you been involved in an accident in the winter without winter tires; you need to take a driving course be retested for your drivers license and have your car equipped with Winter Tires.

    Perhaps we should Ban all season tires :)

  • KTD
    June 21, 2010 - 19:46

    Tired, may I suggest that you move to Summerside to prevent your having to drive such a distance every day. The money you save on gas in a month would be enough to ensure you have appropriate equipment for your vehicles.

    Winter tires are like seatbelts - sometimes, common sense does need to be legislated.