Seven in 10 Canadian Drivers Use Winter Tires

Published: November 22, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones





Most authorities agree that installing winter tires is an essential step to staying safe when driving during the cold season. However, not all provinces make winter tires a mandated feature. Many do, but some, like Ontario, do not and instead offer auto insurance discounts to customers who install them. Despite not being a mandated feature in some provinces, Canadians appear to understand the importance of winter tires.

A recent survey by Leger for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) found that seven in 10 Canadian drivers will use winter tires.

Quebec is the only province that makes winter tire installation the law. TRAC shows that 68% of Canadian drivers use winter tires, suggesting motorists understand the benefits even outside Quebec.

Nearly seven in 10 Canadian drivers are adopting the use of winter tires, according to a new survey by Leger for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). The survey was conducted amongst 1518 Canadian drivers between Oct. 17 and 20. The online test had a probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Here is winter tires use outside of Quebec:

  • Nearly half (49%) of British Columbia drivers now own winter tires, compared to 38% in 2014;
  • Alberta’s usage rate is now 55% versus 45% in 2014;
  • In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, usage has climbed 11 percentage points to 50%;
  • 65% of Ontario drivers now use winter tires compared 56% two years ago; and
  • In Atlantic Canada, where winter tire usage is traditionally second only to Quebec, usage has risen eight percentage points to 81%.

32% of drivers are holding out on using winter tires. That sample believes that all-season tires should be good enough, with 48% of the remainder stating this as a reason for not installing winter tires. 23% cite cost as a reason to not install the tires.

“Drivers adopting winter tires in record numbers is fabulous news because it means Canada’s roadways in winter are becoming significantly safer,” said Glenn Maidment, president of TRAC, in the release. “However, the fact that three-in-ten motorists still do not own winter tires poses a threat to all motorists. This is why outreach to educate drivers continues to be needed. Every motorist needs to know that today’s high-tech winter tires radically outperform all-seasons in all cold-weather driving conditions and offer potentially life-saving benefits.”