If you just recently moved to Canada, you may not know what the law says about tinting car windows. And if you go ahead to tint your windows without the right information, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law. It is not only important for migrants alone to be aware of the tinting laws in Canada because it applies to the general populace. And as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
To help ensure you’re not breaking any laws, we created this post that serves as a comprehensive guide to tinting car windows. This guide covers all 10 provinces one at a time. This is because each province has distinct laws guiding the use of tinted windows. Now let’s delve into what you need to know about tinting car windows in Canada, shall we?
Tinting Car Windows – Ontario
In Ontario, it’s not clear what the province’s official stand is for the windshield and front side windows. But, this excerpt from the Ontario Highway Safety Act implies that it is better to avoid it.
“(3) No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle on which the surface of the windshield or of any window to the direct left or right of the driver’s seat has been coated with any coloured spray or other coloured or reflective material that substantially obscures the interior of the motor vehicle when viewed from outside the motor vehicle..”
In this case, it is up to a police officer to determine if your windshield and front side windows are dark enough to substantially obscure interior view. And these matters could be subjective, so it’s best to avoid such a situation altogether.
As for the backside and rear windows, Ontario laws do not restrict tinting on either of these. However, there is a caveat. If your rear window is tinted you must ensure you have left and right external side mirrors.
Tinting Car Windows – Alberta
In Alberta, the province’s standpoint on tinting for the windshield and front side windows is very clear. The laws do not allow tinting of any kind or degree. So if you find yourself in Alberta, ensure your front windows are not tinted.
This is especially vital for people who travel a lot. While it may be somewhat okay to tint your windows in Ontario, it’s totally against the law in Alberta.
However, Alberta allows tinting of the back and rear windows. The level of darkness is not determined so you can make yours completely dark or somewhat see-through. But keep in mind that you also need left and right side rearview mirrors if your windows are tinted.
You may also want to read the full import of Alberta Vehicle Equipment Regulation here. This way, you are well-informed on every aspect of driving in the province.
Tinting Car Windows – Manitoba
Tint laws in Manitoba are expectedly different. In Manitoba, tinting all window sides of your car is allowed. Nonetheless, you can only do this to a certain degree.
For the windshield, you are allowed to tint the top portion only, covering approximately 12.7 centimetres or 5 inches. If, for instance, the tint is a uniform hue over the 5-inch area, it should not block more than 75% of light. And where it is a gradient, light transmission should not go below 5% in top 6.4 centimetres and 25% in the area between 6.4 cm and 12.7 cm.
Tinting the front side windows is allowed but it must allow 50% of light to pass through, if not more. Also, the reflection of the light on front passengers should not exceed 35%.
As for the backside windows, they may not block 65% (or more) of light. Note that if the back windows block over 50% of light, you need left and right rearview mirrors.
Finally, for Manitoba, your rear window can only block as much as 30% of light and nothing more. Any level of tint also requires dual external rearview mirrors.
Tinting Car Windows – New Brunswick
In New Brunswick, you can tint your vehicle windows but only to a certain degree too. For the windshield, you are allowed to tint the whole area, which is different from what is obtainable in Manitoba.
Since you’re allowed to tint the whole area, you must also ensure that the tint doesn’t block more than 30% of light – that is, 70% VLT.
For the front side windows, the same specifications for the windshield apply here. The window film must not block more than 30% of light. So, you can maximize the 30% that is allowed or apply a tint way below that number, depending on your preference.
And finally, you don’t have to worry about any complex directives regarding the tinting of the back and rear windows. These are allowed without specifications or a prescription of darkness levels. Also, New Brunswick doesn’t state anywhere that rearview mirrors are mandatory if your rear windows are tinted.
I’m sure you’d agree that the tinting law here is less stringent than that of Manitoba.
Tinting Car Windows – Quebec
If you find yourself in Quebec – the province where French is the primary means of communication, you can tint your windows. As it is with other provinces though, there are particular requirements to meet.
If you choose to tint your windshield, you can’t cover the whole area like in New Brunswick. You are only allowed to tint the top part of the glass, covering an area of 15cm or 6 inches. There is, however, no VLT specification for the windshield.
Front side windows, on the other hand, require 70% VLT. This means you can go ahead to tint the whole area of your front windows but ensure that the tint allows 70% of light to pass through.
There are no restrictions whatsoever for the back and rear windows. You can tint all parts of both. But just like some other provinces, you need to have rearview mirrors that help you see the road and oncoming traffic better.
Tinting Car Windows – Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia laws concerning the tinting of vehicle windows is pretty straightforward. It is NOT allowed for anyone to tint their windshield or front windows.
Please take note of this if you’re moving from any of the provinces that allow tinting or from a foreign country. Violating this law may cost you over 300 CAD and you would be asked to have the tint removed. If you fail to comply, the fine may be double what you paid the last time. So, take note.
But there are no restrictions at all for the back and rear windows. You are free to tint them if you want. There is also no darkness level requirement or percentage of VLT that determines the amount of light to let in.
Lastly, there are no specific requirements for side mirrors. Recall that it is compulsory on most other provinces that allow back and rear window tint.
Tinting Car Windows – Newfoundland and Labrador
This is yet another province that does not allow the tinting of the windshield and front side windows. The penalty for going against this rule will cost you a meagre 50 CAD thereabout. Notwithstanding, you could incur more expenses if found violating this regulation. So, it’s best to avoid tints altogether.
For the back and rear window, you can go ahead to tint them. No known regulations are banning the use of tints on these parts of a car. It is also worth mentioning that Newfoundland and Labrador allow non-tinted frost shields that don’t impair the driver’s view of the road.
As for external rearview mirrors, there is no requirement for these.
Tinting Car Windows – Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan province is completely against tinting windshields and front side windows. So if you had plans of doing so before, you shouldn’t carry out that plan. But the good thing is, there is no restriction for people interested in tinting their back side windows and rear window.
Also, here, there are no requirements in place that determine how deep or translucent the dark shade should be. So, any level of darkness can be used.
Keep in mind that non-compliance to the no-tint windshield and front side window law could attract a fine of up to 150 CAD.
Tinting Car Windows – British Columbia
In British Columbia, tint is allowed for the windshield, provided it covers the top area and is not more than 7.5cm. As for the front side windows, tints are not permitted.
For the backside windows and rear window, any level of darkness can be used. However, your vehicle must have exterior rearview mirrors. And lastly, any form of reflective tint is not allowed.
Tinting Car Windows – Newfoundland and Labrador
If you find yourself on Prince Edward Island, note that you are not allowed to tint the front side windows or the windshield. You can only tint the back and rear windows with the condition of external rearview mirrors present.
For the windshield, prince Edward Island laws have no qualms with installing non-tinted frost shields, as long as they do not impede the driver’s vision.
Our 2 Cents
You are now caught up with the latest updates as regards tinting car windows in Canada. Be sure to make this post a reference point whenever you consider tinting your windows. Equally important, be mindful of the guideline provided by the province you live in. As you’ve seen in this post, most provinces don’t allow tinting.