Studded Tire Use in Northern Ontario

Regulation Number(s):
Regulation 625
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Highway Traffic Act (HTA)
Summary of Proposal:
Currently, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), Regulation 625 (Tire Standards and Specifications), section 9(1) allows the limited use of studded tires, but only between October 1st and April 30th. Failure to comply with the existing law carries a fine of up to $1,000 if the studded tires are not removed by April 30th.
Studded tire use is permitted for vehicles with an ownership address in Northern Ontario, as defined by the Territorial Districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Temiskaming, and to out-of-province vehicles travelling in Ontario for less than a month.
The ministry has been requested to consider extending the current prescribed dates in which residents of Northern Ontario can use studded tires. The rationale underlying the request is to better ensure the safety of Northern residents when driving in poor weather conditions that may extend beyond the current prescribed dates.
MTO is proposing to extend the period during which Northern Ontario residents can use studded tires from October 1st - April 30th to September 1st - May 31st.
MTO recognizes the importance of studded tires in adverse winter conditions in Northern Ontario, especially since research shows that studded tires are more effective than other tires under icy conditions, particularly on wet ice.
Studded tires were originally banned in Ontario in 1972 after a technical review established that the studs caused extensive damage to roads. Several other North-American jurisdictions also banned them at that time.
However in 2005, Ontario introduced studded tires legislation and synchronized the period (October 1 to April 30) with Quebec and Manitoba where studded tires were permitted. MTO also prescribed the use of Scandinavian standard lightweight studs, which are lighter than those used in tires that were banned in the 1970s, resulting in approximately 75% less damage to the pavement. The legislation limited the use of studded tires on vehicles over 3 ½ tonnes to municipal emergency and winter maintenance vehicles.
Residents of Southern Ontario are not permitted to use studded tires because most roads are well-maintained with fewer extreme hills and turns. Also, the traffic volumes are higher and many pavements are made with local limestone that is softer than the Canadian Shield rock in the north. While there have been improvements to studded tires, allowing them in these conditions is expected to result in pavement damage, dust and reduced air quality. Therefore, the scope of this proposal remains specific to Northern Ontario residents only.
We invite you to submit comments on this proposal for MTO consideration.
An information notice of this proposal has also been posted on the Environmental Registry.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
February 20, 2014
Comments Due Date:
April 6, 2014
Contact Address:
Ministry of Transportation
Road Safety Policy Office
Safety Policy and Education Branch
1201 Wilson Avenue
Building ?A?, Room 212
Downsview, Ontario
M3M 1J8