Auto window tinting laws are different in each of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, so it’s important that you pay close attention to the specific rules and regulations for vehicle window tint based on where you are getting your car tinted. In the province of Quebec car window tint laws are relatively straightforward and easy to understand, but as penalties for illegal window tint in Quebec can be quite severe, it’s a good idea to read through the rules with care.
First and foremost, you must understand the visible light transmission properties of window film. Visible light transmission, or VLT, is just what it sounds like: it’s how much visible light a window tint allows to pass through, and it correlates to how light or dark, meaning see-through or private, a tinted window is. The higher the VLT rating, the more light a tint lets through and the clearer and more transparent it is, while low VLT number correlate to darker privacy tinting. A tint rated at 95% VLT is almost clear, while a 5% VLT is almost impossible to see through from outside during the daytime.
Note that even window tint with very high VLT ratings and that does not add much privacy to a car, truck, or other vehicle type can still block lots of UV (ultraviolet) and IR (infrared) light, and thus perform the most important job of a tint. Blocking UV light stops interior fading and damage, while blocking IR light keeps cabin temperatures down.
On the other hand, if you want to change the look of your car and add privacy tinting, you can do that with darker tints. But be sure your car window tint is legal in Quebec, because police can check the darkness of tint during any traffic stop using a compact, portable device, so you are always at risk for a hefty illegal tint ticket in Quebec if you have illegal window tinting.
Legal Windshield Tint in Quebec, Canada
In Quebec you are allowed to have window tint applied along the top 15 centimeters of your car’s windshield. (That is a band of tint measuring 5.9 inches, for reference.) The window tint applied to your windshield cannot be reflective. This tint is important as it can block the harsh glare that can impede a driver’s vision, especially in the morning and the evening when the sunlight comes down at an angle.
Front Side Window Tint for Cars in Quebec
Cars, trucks, vans, and other types of vehicles in Quebec all must follow the same rules when it comes to window tint on the front side windows, meaning those windows beside the driver and the shotgun passenger seat. This tint must not be darker than 70% VLT (meaning it can only block 30% of the sunlight) and it must not be reflective in appearance.
Rear Side Window Tint in Quebec
All vehicles registered in Quebec follow the same rules for rear side window tinting, which refers to any windows on the side of the vehicle behind the driver; for sedans this may only be one pair of windows, for SUV’s it may be two, and for vans or recreational vehicles it may be multiple rows of windows. In Quebec, tinting of any darkness may be applied to the side windows behind the driver row, and this tint must not be reflective in appearance.
Rear Window Tint for Vehicles in Quebec
The rear window of a car, truck, or SUV in Quebec may be tinted down to any darkness but must not be reflective in appearance. Note that is the rear window is tinted at all (rear windows are also sometimes called rear windshields, for reference) then the vehicle must have side mirrors on each side of the vehicle that the driver can use to see blind spots and partially behind the vehicle.
Other Auto Tint Laws in Quebec
As noted, in Quebec auto tint cannot be reflective on any window of a vehicle. Thus, certain colors of window film are effectively illegal, such as gold, silver, or copper tint. Beyond that, other colors of window film are legal in the province.
There are no medical exemptions for darker window tint allowed in Quebec, so stick with tint regulations and opt for excellent UV blocking tints if you have a medical condition that merits reduction of sun exposure instead of trying for darker tint on front side windows.
Window tint manufacturers, sellers, and installers in Quebec need not officially certify the tint they offer as meeting province window tint laws, and drivers do not need to use stickers displayed on their vehicles proving their tint is legal, but as police can check tint darkness any time with handheld devices, it’s not worth trying to get away with illegal tint.
Penalties for Illegal Window Tint in Quebec
The fines for illegal window tint on a car in Quebec can be costly, and they are even more expensive on larger, so-called heavy vehicles, like multi-person vans or trucks. An illegal car window tint ticket in Quebec can cost between $154 to $274 in Quebec, while for heavy vehicles the cost can be up to $525 for illicit tinting.
Upon receiving an illegal window tint ticket in Quebec, you are given a fixed period of time in which you must have the illegal tint removed (and replaced with legal tint or simply left off the vehicle) and get the automobile inspected by a certified agent. Failing to take these steps will result in an additional fine which can be even greater, the cost of the penalty ranging from $438 all the way to $865.