Outaouais mechanics worry customers may not make winter tire deadline

Some garage owners in Gatineau, Que., say their appointments for winter tire installations are filling up fast, and drivers may find themselves waiting until after the Dec. 1 deadline to get the work done. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Some garage owners in Gatineau, Que., say their appointments for winter tire installations are filling up fast, and drivers may find themselves waiting until after the Dec. 1 deadline to get the work done. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

The date for Quebec residents to install winter tires is fast approaching, but a shortage of workers and materials — coupled with recent warm weather — has some Outaouais mechanics worried not everyone will be able to get the job done in time.

It's mandatory in Quebec for all vehicles to have winter tires between Dec.1 and March 15.

Some shops such as Garage Mécanique Galarneau in Gatineau, Que., have had to turn away some clients.

"We have a problem with labour and installations. We have to slow down the pace a bit," said mechanic Yves Galarneau in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada.

"Vehicles that are too heavy, we don't take them because we don't have enough manpower. We want to preserve what we have."

Galarneau said people have also been putting the task off due to the unseasonably warm fall, and while that's helped them catch up, it's still a two-to-three-week wait for an appointment.

At the Monsieur Mécanique RD garage, ongoing supply chain issues have led to a shortage of some tires, and those they have been able to get are pricier than usual.

Radio-Canada
Radio-Canada

"There are tires that we received [that are] now five or six times more expensive. The price of tires has gone up," said owner Régis Dumouchel in a French-Language interview with Radio-Canada.

"There are certain specific sizes that are more difficult to obtain."

Dumouchel said finding an appointment this November will be difficult too, as his schedule is almost full until Dec. 1.

The law will not bend

Gatineau police warn there is no leeway on the law, even if issues with supply and labour make it difficult to get the job done.

"When we intervene on a collision during the wintertime, police officers have to check if the cars [had] on winter tires or not. [It's data] we collect each time that there's a collision.," said Const. Andrée East, the force's spokesperson.

Radio-Canada
Radio-Canada

Drivers with Quebec licence plates who are caught without winter tires during the mandatory period face tickets between $200 and $300 plus fees, said East.

The law is about ensuring safety on the roads, East said, especially given the snowy, icy nature of Canadian winters.

"We know that each year [the deadline is] coming way before Dec. 1," she said

"If people don't have those winter tires, it's possible that [there] will be more collisions on the road. And this is a problem because more people can be injured."