Photo by Jan Baborák

British Columbia Winter Tire Law

British Columbia winter tire law requires winter tires or chains to be used on most routes in British Columbia from October 1 to April 30.

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British Columbia Winter Tire Law

British Columbia winter tire law requires winter tires or chains to be used on most routes in British Columbia from October 1 to April 30. Routes requiring winter tires or chains in BC are marked with signs posted on highways throughout the province. Depending on road conditions, the Province reserves the right to restrict travel at any time of the year. For select highways not located through mountain passes and/or high snowfall areas, tire and chain requirements end March 31.

What is a Legal Winter Tire in British Columbia?

A legal winter tire (on a standard passenger vehicle or a four-wheel/all-wheel vehicle) must have tread depth of at least 3.5mm. A winter tire must be labelled with either of the following:

  • The Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMS) symbol (some manufacturers label with both the mountain snowflake and the M+S/Mud and Snow symbol).
  • The letters “M” and “S”, the minimum legal requirement (marked M+S, mud and snow tires, commonly known as all-season tires.

Winter tire laws are enforced by the police, ministry, or other enforcement officials. Motorists who are not compliant may be turned away from these routes and fined. Drivers can find maps with the designated routes where winter tires and chains are required between October 1 to March 31 and where those dates may be extended to between October 1 to April 30.    

Lower Mainland, Southeastern Vancouver Island and Other Exceptions

BC cities, municipalities, and private roads such as ski hills, may have their own bylaws or rules around the use of winter tires, chains or traction devices that may differ from provincial highway regulations. Due to a more temperate winter climate in the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island, drivers are not required to use winter tires in many areas along the coast.

Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

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