Driving in Quebec? Be warned … the laws are different

Do you drive in Quebec? Well, if you are from Ontario and cross the border we have a few things you might want to consider due to differences in the laws.:


Quebec law requires residents to have winter tires from Dec. 15 to Mar. 15. Ontario has no such law.

Quebec drivers with studded snow tires will get fined in Ontario, said Surete du Quebec Sgt. Marc Tessier. Only Northern Ontario residents can use studded tires, with lightweight studs, anywhere in the province from Oct. 1 to Apr. 30.

The fine is up to $1,000.

So does this mean Ottawans with all-season tires will receive an infraction in Wakefield?

No, said Gatineau police Sgt. J.P. Le May.

“If it’s legal in the province where your plate is from or where your vehicle is from, then it should be OK,” said Ottawa police Cst. Marc Soucy.

City cops treat Quebec drivers similarly when dealing with front plates.

“There’s a ticket in Ontario for not having a front plate, but we don’t ticket Quebec (drivers) ’cause they’re not issued front plates,” said Soucy.


Can Ontario residents legally tote alcohol from Quebec? The federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, enacted in 1928, makes it a crime to move liquor from one province to another.

Ottawa police Cst. Marc Soucy provided the answer: “You can bring wine, but not beer,” said Soucy.

An amendment was made to the Act last June, allowing interprovincial importation of wine for personal use.

Catching motorists with suds and spirits is a “very tough law to enforce,” said Surete du Quebec Sgt. Marc Tessier. “We don’t park a Quebec police officer in Ontario just to see if he goes to the LCBO and crosses the bridge.”

So if an arrest is made, “it would be because the person did something else, like an accident crossing the bridge,” said Tessier.

An officer may spot liquor in the car, then issue a fine to the driver.


Quebec’s transportation ministry no longer uses validation stickers, said Le May. So can Ontario drivers still get pulled over for an expired tag?

“Absolutely,” said Le May. “The car could be seized. You have no right to circulate.”

Incidents are handled on a case by case basis, said Le May.

If the owner of a vehicle has a Jan. 31 birthday and got pulled over in Ottawa today, s/he would be off the hook.

In Quebec, officers use the same database to run plates and check a driver’s licence and should apply the same rule, said Tessier.

“When we run the plate and it says that it’s valid, no ticket will be issued,” said Surete du Quebec Sgt. Marc Tessier.

“We respect the date of birth for the driver’s licence in Quebec.”


“If your muffler is modified to make more noise and you’re in Quebec, you can have a ticket, even if you’re an Ontario resident,” said Surete du Quebec Sgt. Marc Tessier.



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